New York weekend, day 1

[Written on November 12, 2007]

Kelly and I hit the road at 7 AM. The GPS predicted a 11:12 AM arrival in Stony Point at vickyandnorm‘s house. We were there at almost exactly 11 AM. Boy, making that drive with someone to talk to in the car makes a huge difference. The time flew by and what was ultimately 4 hours seemed like a mere 60 minutes. Kelly is an awesome driving companion!

And can I just say that EZ Pass rocks! No rolling down windows (and letting ice-cold air in); no waiting in long toll-booth lines. We glides through tolls with ease. The EZ Pass express lanes are the best because you can shoot through those at 55 MPH. I’d estimate it saved 10-15 minutes in travel time.

We arrived at Vicky and Norm’s at 11 AM. Vicky had just gotten home from tutoring and met us by the garage. Once inside, Vicky gave Kelly a tour of the house (having been to the house several times, including during construction, I needed no tour, but I tagged along anyway). Kelly got to see the JRMR, or “Jamie Rubin Memorial Room”, which is a guest bedroom dedicated to me. Of course, we couldn’t use it this time around; Eric and Ryane were getting it because there was more room in there to set up Damian’s crib. But still: my room!

The night before, Norm and Vicky had made a cupcake bush, or maybe it’s a cupcake tree. Anyway, it was with great difficulty and personal restraint that Norm refrained from eating said cupcakes until everyone arrived. We got to meet Charlotte, Norm and Vicky’s very fluffy cat. We got to see how she dominates Norm in any room in which they are both in. She has a specific place on the couch where she sits. Norm tried to sit there for a while, but he quickly lost that battle.

Vicky and Norm had a present for Zeke: a cat condominium. Charlotte never used it so they handed it down to Zeke. (When I got home and set it up for him, he started exploring it right away.) They also got a little something for me: typewriter bookends. I’d seen these magnificent bookends half a year ago while visiting a mall with Norm and Vicky. Now I have them and I love them!

Sometime around 1 PM, strausmouse and rmstraus arrived with EatSleepSmilePeePoopGrabEverythingandPutInTheMouth (a.k.a., Damian) and for the next 20 hours or so, you can guess who the center of attention was. He’s such a happy baby, always smiling, giggling, and laughing at my jokes. Oh, and Damian is a pretty cute baby too.

Everyone was hungry and Norm and Vicky asked me to pick between Mexican and Italian. Norm was trying to give me some sort of signal and Vicky caught him, which I thought was pretty funny. I chose Italian. We headed off in two cars and on the way to the restaurant, passed through a seatbelt checkpoint–the first time I’d ever passed through one of those. On the way, Vicky wondered if the restaurant would be open and Norm mocked her and said of course it would be.

The restaurant didn’t open until 3 PM.

So we went to the Mexican place instead and it was okay. I had the Carne Asada which was eh. Eric had some authentic dish that involved a squid or octopus, or maybe the Lochness Monster, I can’t remember. Ryane and I were the only ones to order margaritas. It was a great lunch until the end when Norm and I entered into a stalemate over who would pay the bill. Norm insisted he pay. I insisted I pay. I said I was older and therefore I should pay. He said he was smarter and therefore he should pay. Norm said he was more handsome and therefore he should pay. I said I was more gracious and therefore he should pay. And so I tricked him into paying for the meal, all the while impressing Kelly with my whiz-bang logical judo.

We went back to Norm and Vicky’s where we spent the rest of the day. We watched Norm and Vicky’s wedding video, and I finally got to see the toast I gave at the wedding (I hadn’t remembered what I said.) Turns out I didn’t say anything too embarrassing to myself.

Ryane, Damian, Vicky, Kelly, and Eric lounging in the Great Room

We sat around talking, and playing with Damian, who remained the center of attention, despite Eric’s best efforts to best him. Vicky made this cheese dip that I love and we snacked on that. Kelly napped for 30 seconds. Damian napped for 30 minutes. Charlotte napped for 30 hours. Norm’s been napping for 30 years. But I digress.

Eric spent quite a bit of time in Norm and Vicky’s new recliner. (They had to get said recliner because Charlotte kicked Norm off his part of the couch.)

Eric, using his fingers to display the number of times he’s refused to get up from the recliner so far

Having consumed all the cupcakes, Norm now hits the candy jar

Later in the evening, Eric cooked up some chili. I’m not a big chili fans because I’m not overly fond of the beans. But, as it turns out, neither is Eric and his chili is beanless. It was also very good. We all had chili, except Kelly, who I’d forgotten to mention was a vegetarian. As usual, Norm and Vicky came to the rescue, cooking her up a bowl of pasta.

We got to watch a 24 year-old recording of Norm’s mom on Wheel of Fortune. It was fun to watch her, but it was even better to watch some of the quarter-century-old commercials that aired with the broadcast.

Late in the evening, we played a game of Apples to Apples. With 6 players, you need to collect 6 cards to win, and I was the first to six cards, smashing everyone else in the pack. Eric couldn’t get a card to save his life and his vocal, often frantic, running commentary of that fact was the most amusing part of the whole game. After, we played Uno, and as well as I played Apples to Apples, I played Uno equally poorly. I think Kelly and Vicky were winners and this time it required no cheating, although the rules that I play by are somewhat different than everyone else’s. Even the official rules had it wrong.

It was late at this point, and we all decided to go to bed which meant half an hour before everyone had used the bathroom, brushed teeth, removed contacts, etc., etc. And then Norm and Vicky lost the cat. Charlotte was nowhere to be found. We searched our room. Nothing. Eric searched his room (well, my room). Nothing. Finally, Vicky heard a scratching coming from the linen closet. Charlotte was in there. She must have gotten in when Norm and Vicky got us some extra sheets. Yes, they blamed us, ladies and gentlemen.

I had a terrific day, Norm and Vicky are the consummate hosts. It was great to be able to hang out with everyone. I was lulled to sleep by the sound of Eric’s snoring coming from the room next door.


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