Tag: road trips

A Visit to Niagara Falls

The centerpiece of our recent road trip was Niagara Falls. When we were trying to figure out where to go, we determined that none of us had ever been to Niagara Falls before, and that would make a good destination. We drove to Albany, New York, to visit friends, and then began a drive west across the state, mostly on blue highways. We stopped in Coopertown, New York and visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame. We spent a night in Auburn, a town which is more or less closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We detoured to Seneca Falls to visit the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum. And from there, we drove to Niagara Falls, the only place on our trip where we stayed two nights.

Prior to my visit, nearly everything I knew about Niagara Falls came from Superman II. There is that scene where a kid is standing on the wrong side of the railing, loses his grip, and falls into the falls. (This was the early 1980s, and I guess parents didn’t really care if their kids were doing ridiculously dangerous things.) Fortunately, Clark Kent was in the vicinity and rescued the falling boy, in his Superman guise.

Our hotel was just on the edge of the Niagara Falls state park. From our room on the top floor, we could see the top of the American falls. We couldn’t see the falls themselves, just where the water goes over the edge into the gorge. Still, it was nice to be within a short walk of the falls. We arrived early in the afternoon, and while we waited for our room to be ready, we walked to the falls.

My first look at the American falls was a little underwhelming. Superman II made them seem so much bigger. They are big, but as I learned the next day, they look much bigger from below than from above.

the american falls
The American falls

As we wandered around, I tried to find the spot where the kid in the movie fell from the railing. Nothing seemed to match what I remembered from the movie. Maybe things had moved? I learned that the falls can erode as much as 6 feet per year, pulling back further and further. At some point in the future, the falls won’t be in the vicinity of the city and people will wonder why either the falls or the city is called Niagara.

That first afternoon was spent wandering. After taking in the American falls, we walked over to the Horseshoe falls, which seemed more impressive to me, but which generated much more mist. That was okay though. It was hot and the mist was refreshing.

The Horseshoe falls, through the mist
The Horseshoe falls, through the mist

After we got our fill, we wandered back past the hotel in order to have dinner at The Rainforest Cafe. We’d eaten at a Rainforest Cafe once before at Disney World, and the Little Man was keen to eat there again. Our hotel room faced west, and in the evening the Falls are illuminated from below. You can see them (the top anyway) toward the center of the photo below.

The next day was our big day to take tours. We’d arrived on a Tuesday and heard that Wednesdays and Thursdays are less crowded. That definitely seemed to be the case. I think the Cave of the Winds tours opened at 9 am and there was no line, not even a line for tickets. After watching a short film about the falls, we were led to an elevator that took us down 190 feet to the base of the gorge. From there, we walked through a long tunnel and outdoors to a boardwalk. We were given ponchos to provide some protection from the mist. With those on, we headed along the boardwalk, which took us incredibly close to the base of the American falls.

There were warnings that we’d get wet, and we did, but the ponchos helped. I was a little disappointed with the tour, however. I thought we were going into a cave: it is called the Cave of the Winds, after all. But the cave collapsed a long, long time ago, as I learned, and so we simply pass by where it once was. It is actually a very short tour over all and before long, we were back at the elevators waiting for a ride back up.

American falls from below
The American falls from below.

I was wearing my “Writer” hat and on the elevator ride up, the park employee who ran the elevator said, “Hey, I like your hat. Are you a writer?”

I told him I was and he told me that he wanted to be a writer. I never know what to say in these situations. I said something, but I can’t remember what it was. After we climbed the 190 feet up, we maneuvered our way back over to where the Maid of the Mist tickets were sold. This is the famous boat ride that takes you into the heart of the Horseshoe falls. Once again, there was no line. This time, an elevator took us down 200 feet. Once again, we were given ponchos, this time blue instead of yellow. We were toward the front of the line for boarding the next boat, and managed to find a good space on the port side toward the bow, which gave us a good view of the falls on the way out. These boats, incidentally, are completely electrical.

We got much wetter on the boat than on the hike. The boat goes past the American falls, but not particularly close. Instead, it moves deep into the cup of the Horseshoe falls until you feel as if you are surrounded by cinematic, disaster movie-sized tidal waves that are somehow held back from crashing down on you. At times, the mist is so thick you can’t see anything. I didn’t even try to pull out my phone to take a photo. Later, however, I did manage to get a nice photo, and it was right near the place I remembered from Superman II (I finally found it near the Honeymoon falls). Rainbows are a dime a dozen in misty water like this, but I still think it was kind of lucky to managed to capture this photo.

By the time we’d finished our two tours, it wasn’t quite noon. We found a restaurant near our hotel to have lunch and then we spent a while wandering the town, popping in and out of tourist shops. Niagara Falls was bustling near the hotel, but a few blocks north and west, the town seemed dead. I walked an entire block with boarded up shops, except for a corner bar. As you move away from the falls, things seem increasingly run down. To the northwest, a hotel casino towers over everything else in the city, but it seems surrounded by desolation. I was envious of the Canadian side, which looked more appealing, but which we couldn’t visit due to COVID restrictions.

We ate dinner that evening at the Anchor Bar, which was connected to our hotel. It is a chain out of Buffalo, supposedly where buffalo-style chicken wings were invented. I had buffalo mac & cheese with chicken. What surprised me more than anything was the price of the liquor. I ordered a beer and a shot of tequila at the bar. It was happy hour. The beer was $6 and the shot, $5, and that was a for Don Julio Silver. In the D.C. area, that shot would cost $15 easily.

In the evening, Kelly took the kids to the falls one more time to see them illuminated. I was too tired so I stayed back at the hotel. It was probably for the best; she said the illuminations were nothing to write home about.

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Welcome to Bedford Seneca Falls

When I was a teenager, we would spend several weeks each summer visiting my grandparents in New York. For some of the time, they would take us on road trips. We visited Cooperstown, the Catskill Game Farm (which no longer exists, so far as I can tell), Howe’s Caverns. Sometimes we’d venture into New Hampshire or other New England states. This was in the 1980s, before the Internet, before smart phones (or any cell phones, for that matter), and before I was driving. To entertain myself, I looked out the window.

I loved it when we passed through farm country. I grew up in mostly urban areas: New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles. My 4-year stint in Rhode Island was more suburban, but it was certainly not rural. So driving into upstate New York always fascinated me. A few hours outside New York City and here was all of this farm land. In my fourteen year old’s memory, all of the colors were bright. I would watch fields of corn pass by, and couldn’t imagine people eating that much corn. There were cows and horses in the fields. There were great bit red barns–how I loved those barns!

This is why, when we took our recent road trip, I stuck to the blue highways. I wanted to see these things all over again. I thought it might be nice for our kids to see them, too, but it wasn’t the same for them. They took their eyes off their device for a few seconds if I pointed out some grazing cows, or a particularly beautiful barn, but that was about it. I didn’t try to convince them otherwise. Scenery like that either resonates with you or it doesn’t. Alas, since I was driving, I didn’t snap any photos of the scenery along the way that I can post here. But I’ve got those pictures in my head and when I close my eyes, I can still see them.

The day after we visited Cooperstown, we headed across the state of New York for Niagara Falls. But on the way, we detoured to a small town in the Fingers Lakes region, called Seneca Falls. We picked the town because it is believed to be the model that inspired the fictional town of Bedford Falls in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Indeed, the fact that there was an “It’s a Wonderful Life” museum in the town seemed like a fun place to stop.

The town is set along Cayuga Lake and the Seneca River runs through the town. We drove directly from our hotel, about 20 miles away in Auburn, to Cafe 19 for breakfast. I indulged in a Monte Cristo sandwich which was delicious, filled as it was with strawberry jam. We sat outdoors and the weather was perfect. It turned out that the parking lot for the restaurant, which was across the river on the edge of town, served as one of the town lots, and so we walked from the restaurant into town to find the It’s A Wonderful Life museum. When we got there, around 10 am, we learned they didn’t open until 11. That was fine because it meant we had an hour to wander the town.

We visited the Visitor Center, which also served as museum of waterways and industry. From there, we walked along the river to the “It’s a Wonderful Life Bridge” that spans the river.

the "it's a wonderful life bridge" in seneca falls, ny

From the bridge, we wander back to the town and toward the Women’s Right National Historical Park, which is a National Park unto itself. Much of the movement for women’s suffrage started here.

The Littlest Miss and the Little Miss at the Women’s Rights corner. The Little Man is across the street in the background.

At 11 am, we headed to the It’s a Wonderful Life museum. It was a wonderful place. They have an incredible amount of memorabilia from the movie. It’s not a big museum (yet) but they are looking to expand. As a project manager, I am fascinated by the complexity involved in making movies, and they had several original call sheets from the films which illustrate just how complex a single day of filming can be.

Call sheet from a day of filming on It’s a Wonderful Life

Outside the museum is a sign that reads: “Welcome to Bedford Falls” and it seemed as if all of the visitors (and there were quite a few) wanted there pictures taken in front of it.

We spent a couple of hours in the town, before we headed back to the car for the 2 hour drive to Niagara Falls. It was a delightful town and I’m really glad we decided to stop for a visit. When my cousin said they’d be doing a road trip across New York the week after we did and asked for recommendations, Seneca Falls was at the top of my list.

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No Good Route Home

The worst part of a vacation is returning home. The worst part about where we live is that there are no good routes home. Having recently spent seven days on a road trip, driving blue highways and visiting more rural areas, coming back to a major metropolitan area like ours is a drag.

There are two major airports in our area. Washington Dulles is the largest and is usually the easiest route home thanks to the airport access road. But once you get inside the Beltway that loops around the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, all bets are off and you are likely to hit some kind of traffic. Reagan/National Airport is a little closer to us than Dulles, but it takes about takes about the same amount of time to navigate the surface streets, the endless string of stoplights, the stop-and-go traffic.

We were on a road trip, however, and had no need for airports. Still, there is no good route home. If we are returning from the north (New York, New England, etc.), we drive down I-95 and either take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway into the District and cut through web of highways and city traffic and across the bridge into Virginia; or, we stay on I-95 to the Beltway and then loop around to Route 66 and take that in toward our house. Neither of these options are appealing, and once we pass south of Baltimore, I grow slightly grumpy at the thought of dealing with the approach to our house and the traffic that will inevitably slow our arrival.

If we are returning from the south (typically coming back from Florida), we generally have a smooth drive up the entire length of I-95 until we hit Richmond, Virginia. In rare conditions (say, early in the morning, or late at night) when there is no traffic, it takes just under 2 hours to get from Richmond to our house. I can’t remember the last time we did it that quickly. As we approach Richmond, I glance at the GPS to see what it has to say about traffic. It is never good. It is not unheard of for it to take three hours to get from Richmond to our house. It is a rotten route home, but there is nothing much better. I can easily drive 7 hours without breaking a sweat. But those last few hours between Richmond and home can leave me completely worn out.

On the final leg of our recent road trip, we drove from Youngstown, Ohio, straight through to home. This is a mostly pleasant drive through mountains, but once we got onto I-270, some 40+ miles from home, the traffic thickened. Coming home from this direction (call it northwest) means coming down I-270 to merge into the Beltway. This is no better than coming down I-95, although we emerge a little further along the Beltway. But the traffic is no less since I-270 is just as bad.

I know from experience that no all destinations are like this. Arriving at my mother-in-law’s place in Florida is pleasant. There’s never traffic. Once we are off the highway, there is an easy drive along clear surface streets. It’s a nice approach. Driving to my parent’s place on the opposite coast of Florida is almost as pleasant. It is a little busier on that coast, but there is rarely traffic.

On our trip we visited friends in Albany, and getting to their house from the Thruway is easy, and traffic free. Outside of Albany, Niagara Falls was the largest city we visited on our road trip and even that was easy to get into.

The one exception is my sister’s house. She lives in Westchester County and it means crossing the George Washington Bridge (or occasionally, the Tappan-Zee Bridge1) and then following a gnarled web of highways that gradually spiral in toward her house. That is not a particularly pleasant arrival.

I keep a list of questions to ask a realtor about a house should we ever find ourselves house hunting again. Among these are: how is the water pressure in the shower? How loud (or quiet) is it with the windows open at night? And to these I’ve added a new one: are there any good routes home?

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  1. Yes, I know they took it down and replaced it with another bridge, but it will always be the Tappan-Zee to me.

A Few Hours in Cooperstown

A big part of our recent road trip vacation took us through central New York. Over a period of two days, we drove from Albany, where we visited friends, to Niagara Falls. On the way, we stopped in several places, the first of which was Cooperstown, New York, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I’d been to the Hall on three previous occasions, twice as kid, and once, 15 years ago with my brother. As not just a baseball fan, but an aficionado of the history of the game, it is a great place to visit.

My family humored me on this stop. I’m not sure any of them were excited to visit the Hall of Fame.

From Albany, we tried to stay off the interstate highways, sticking to the blue highways, and driving through some beautiful farm country. It always amazes me how quickly the urban turns into the rural. There were long stretches of two lane highway where we didn’t see another vehicle in either direction. Occasionally, we were slowed down by a truck, but this was good because it forced me to slow my pace and get a better look at the country we passed through.

We arrived in Cooperstown around 11 am and after failing in our first attempt to find parking, we realized that there are parking lots on the outskirts of the town from which a trolley will take you in. We are all walkers and the free lot we parked in (the Red Lot) was only half a mile from the Hall of Fame, so rather than wait for the trolley, we walked. Currently, the Hall of Fame has timed entrances and our tickets were for 11:30 am. I figured a Monday was a good day to visit since I couldn’t imagine it would be crowded. It never had been on my previous visits. But I was wrong. The place was packed. I mean really packed.

The Hall of Fame has a scavenger hunt game for kids and so I felt like I spent much of my time helping our youngest daughter find the things she needed to complete her scavenger hunt. I tried to focus on the displays when I could, but there were so many people there, it was difficult. I felt rushed. I was also disappointed that my favorite exhibit no longer exists: this was a wall that contained baseballs from every no-hitter (and perfect game) ever thrown. I asked a museum staff member about it and he told me that they occasionally change exhibits to keep things fresh. I was sorry to see that one go.

The Littlest Miss really seemed to get into the exhibits. She was particularly taken with displays of prizes: medals, silver bats, bronzed baseballs. She also enjoyed the old baseball gloves and catchers mitts.

Throughout the museum, touchscreens were setup to poll visitors on various questions. Two stand out in my mind. The first had to do with the way the game was changing and if those changes were good or not. My response to the poll indicated that I was a “baseball purist,” which no doubt I am. Interestingly, the same was true of more than 70% of the visitors to the Hall of Fame. A second poll asked about gambling in baseball and PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs, e.g. steroids). A final question asked whether the all-time hit king, Pete Rose, deserved to be in the Hall of Fame (he was banned for life from baseball because he gambled while he was as player/manager). I think it is time he should be let into the Hall, and I said so on the poll. 79% of Hall of Fame visitors agreed with me:

results of a hall of fame poll

This is a good example of a selection bias. It seems to me that (a) people who take the time and money to visit the Hall of Fame are real fans of the game and more likely to be baseball purists than the general population; and (b) they also probably know more about the history of the game, how the game was tainted by the Black Sox scandal and steroids. Many probably came to the same conclusions that I did about Pete Rose. Comparing these poll results to similar polls of the general population would probably look a bit different.

The actually Hall for which the Hall of Fame is named is a place of reverence for baseball fans, and I looked forward to wandering its quiet spaces, reading the plaques. But even the Hall was crowded and noisy. Still, I managed to see where Derek Jeter’s plaque would be installed in about a month. Still, I found a few of the plaques I was interested in looking at, and I made due with those.

This was the first time I’d been back to the Hall of Fame since I’d written a story that took place there. It was also the first time I’d been back since reading dozens of books on the history of the game. I was looking forward to browsing the library, but it was closed to the public on the day we were there. I did manage to get myself a new hat and t-shirt from the Hall of Fame gift shop, however.

I knew that the family was humoring me for this particular stop, and I didn’t want to keep them there longer than necessary, so we left the Hall after two hours. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day in Cooperstown, and we spent some time wandering the streets, dipping into and out of various shops. The small town is like many tourist towns, with one twist: most of the shops are geared toward baseball.

looking north from the shore of Otsego lake.

I bought the only book I purchased on this road trip in a shop called Willis Monie Books. What an amazing shop. They had narrow aisles just packed to the gills with used books. I could have spent hours in there. They even had a wall of baseball books, and I could have spent an hour just browsing those titles. Rushed, as I felt, I picked out just one book, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House by H. R. Haldeman. It was the “diaries” that attracted me to that one. It would be worth a trip back to Cooperstown just to spend a day browsing the shelves in that store.

We had ice cream, did a little more window shopping, and then departed for Auburn, New York, which is where we were staying that night. I’m glad we got to go to the Hall of Fame. I just wish it wasn’t as crowded as it was.

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Where In the World Is Jamie Todd Rubin?

I’m interrupting these regularly scheduled posts to drop a quick note from our road trip vacation. Today, we are here:

I’ll have more to say about our trip in the days to come but so far we are having a great time.

Now I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

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Adding Pins to the Map

Later this summer we will be heading on our annual summer road trip, or what I like to call “adding pins to the map.” For our tenth anniversary, Kelly got me a framed map of the United States that came with a tin of pins. The title at the bottom of the map is “The Adventures of Jamie and Kelly.” I decided that I would only put pins in places that Kelly and I have been together, either with or without our kids. Over the years since we’ve added pins here and there, and I’m excited to be able to add some more pins later this summer.

The Adventures of Jamie and Kelly
The Adventures of Jamie and Kelly

The map hangs on the wall of our dining room. When people see it, they often ask, “What do the colors mean?” I have to explain that they don’t mean anything. They were the colors that came in the tin of pins that accompanied the map. I’ve had to explain this enough times to where I’ve been tempted to put a label in one corner of the map with a legend, “Pin colors carry no meaning.”

We’ve done a good job covering much of the east coast together and with the kids. We’ve been to L.A. together, and to Seattle with the Little Man. We’ve also been to San Antonio with the Little Man. I’ve been wanting to gradually make our way west on our road trips. We drive down to Florida several times a years and I’ve used string to measure out the distance from our house to southern Florida, and then mapped out a circumference to show that same distance spread out to the west. We’ve gone as far as Nashville in our road trips.

Usually, we will head up to Maine in the summer, but every few years we decided to do something different. This year we are planning a trip up to Niagara Falls. Neither of us have been there before, and the kids should enjoy it as well. On our way up, we’ll stop to see friends in Albany, NY. We may hit Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. As it is mapped out so far, our trip is a kind of circle around central New York, eastern Ohio, and Pennsylvania, so we will definitely be adding pins to the map, which is always fun.

I sometimes wonder what this map will look like by the time all of our kids head off for college. I hope that we can fill more of it up before then. Traveling the roads together, going to interesting places, getting the kids out to see things they might not otherwise see is a real treat, and something I am always grateful that we can do. Most of our vacations are road trip vacations of one form or another, and I like that because it frees us to up go at our own pace, and change our minds along the way if something of interest catches our eye. (This happened on the way to Nashville a few years back, when we detoured to the Hermitage, to see the home of Andrew Jackson.)

Another thing I like about this map is it quickly answers the kids’ question, “Have I ever been to…?” All they have to do is glance at the map to know if we’ve been to a place.

Next year, we may need to add a world map, as we are planning to head to Europe with the kids. Then we can look forward to adding pins to that map as well.

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The Long Road Home

View from our hotel room on the last full day of our vacation.

We departed our resort at Walt Disney World yesterday morning at 8:15 am and arrived home just before 11 pm, 860 miles of driving. We have driven too and from Florida more than a dozen times, but this is the first time we attempted to drive all the way home in a single day.

The first time we drove to Florida, in 2012, we made the trip over 3 days, spending nights in places like Florence, South Carolina, and Kingland, Georgia. We’d do the same on the reverse run, stopping in places like Savannah and Charleston. After several years of these trips, we slimmed them down to just one night on the road, stopping at a roughly midway point in South Carolina. We’ve done that for years, and indeed, that is what we did driving down in December.

But we visited Walt Disney World at the end of our trip this time, instead of the beginning. We are normally in southern Florida, and being three hours closer to home made it tricky to decide where to stop for the night. I suggested we try to make the run all the way through. So we left Orlando at 8:15 am, drove through some rush hour traffic on I-4, and then onto I-95 where we encountered no traffic for the entire drive.

It wasn’t that hard. It might seem like a small thing, but I am always impressed by the good state of the roads, the quality of the rest stops, and the friendliness of the people at gas stations and restaurants along the way. We stopped in Walterboro, South Carolina for a late lunch, but other than a couple of pit stops, I drove and drove and drove.

I finished 3 audiobooks on the drive: I was almost finished with Ted Chaing’s Exhilation before the drive, and finished it while we were still in Florida. Next, I turned to Chuck Palahniuk’s new book, Consider This: Moments in My Life After Which Everything Was Different. Having finished that, I was still craving more on the writing life, so I re-read John McPhee’s Draft No. 4. That audiobook came to an end as we pulled into our driveway, right around 10:50 pm.

Listening to the audiobooks made the time fly by. So did the lull of the road. I remember when we stopped for lunch, around 2 pm, thinking that it didn’t seem like we’d been driving for nearly 6 hours already.

860 miles is the most I have driven in a single day. I think the runner up is in the 500 mile range. It made sense to do this, coming home, because it gives us the entire weekend to get the house back in order, do laundry (we were gone for 21 days) and settle back into our routines before we are back to work and school on Monday. I’m not sure I’d do this driving down to Florida.

The photo is a view from our hotel room on the last full day at Walt Disney World. We stayed in two different resorts this time, but I’ll have more to say about that in a future post.

After being gone for 3 weeks, it feels good to be home. It does not feel like we just left on the trip, or that the trip flew by. 21 days is a long time by any measure. It’s nice to be back in my office surrounded by my books. It’s nice to have 2 days to settle back in before work starts again.

Albany Weekend, Days 3 and 4 (plus me when I was 5-years old)

Day 3 – Independence Day

We had great weather yesterday and that helped a lot. The kids didn’t have to linger around the house to wait for the rain to stop. As soon as the local swimming pool opened up, we were there to take part in the aquatic festivities. It had been quite a while since I’d last seen the Little Man swim. When he and Kelly were in Florida this spring, he was jumping into the pool. I finally got to witness that first hand today. He seems to really love the water, although he doesn’t yet know how to swim. He stayed in the pool for a long time, despite his chattering teeth. Finally, we got out of the water to take a break and have a picnic lunch. When lunch was over, we headed back into the pool for a while.

After swimming, we all headed over to the playground just behind the pool. It was pretty warm out and we were all hoping to wear out the kids so that they’d get in a good nap before the evening festivities. Thus, I encouraged the Little Man to run around. A lot. And he did. For an hour or so he dashed around that playground, wearing himself out. I was certain he’d fall asleep as soon as he got into the car. But the car ride back to the house was only about a minute and it took him a little while longer to finally crash. But crash he did and I think he managed to get close to 2 hours of sleep.

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Albany weekend, day 2

We got a lot of rain yesterday. That means that for much of the day, we were trapped indoors with a 6 month-old, a 2 year-old, and a 4 year-old and eventually, they were bouncing off the walls. So finally, around noon, we headed out to a place called Tree Paad, which is a kind of indoor kids paradise and let the Little Man and the Dude run free. There was a huge “fortress” that they could climb around in with all kinds of slides to slide down and the kids had a blast. The adults had a blast, too, chasing them around, racing them down the slides, and watching them smile and laugh.

It did bring home an unpleasant truth, however. I am really out of shape. After half a dozen times climbing up into this fortress with the Little Man and sliding down the slide, I was out of breath. Kelly and I took turns and despite being over 31 weeks pregnant, she probably took him down the slide more times than I did!

It didn’t help that I filled myself up with an assortment of comestibles all of which were designed to be both delicious and as unhealthy as possible: a hot dog, a slice of pizza, some french fries (with mayo) and a soda. I was hungry and I wolfed that down quickly–and then proceeded to chase the little man around, all the while sloshing that poisonous mixture around in my stomach.

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I can’t quite put my thumb on it…

We slept in Sunday morning.  It’s so quiet up at Sarah’s parents (their house is essentially in the woods) that both Kelly and I sleep very well when we are up there.  Once we got up, we lounged around for a while, and then Michael made breakfast and the six of us managed to consume to loafs of French toast, as well as bacon, fruit and other comestibles.

Sarah’s father showed us a baby changing table that they have in their garage and that we can use for Zachary when he arrives.  They are going to bring it down to us on one of their visits.

Eventually, we gathered up our things (minus the dog, who was staying up in NJ for a few weeks) and climbed into the car for the drive home.  It was a relatively uneventful drive save for two things:

First, we stopped in Yardley, PA, to have lunch with Ian and Jan and see their new baby, a real cutie and very-well behaved.  (I think all babies are well-behaved around Kelly.)  Lunch was nice.  I had a BLT (my bacon craving from the morning carried over) and some tequila-spiked chicken soup.

Second, we hit massive traffic in Delaware, which is always a mystery to me.  We pass through something like 11 miles of the state and the tollbooth they erected before entering Maryland seems forces all eleven miles into a knot of traffic.

As we arrived back at Sarah’s I noticed that I had lost all feeling on the inside of my right thumb. It freaked me out a little bit, but after some reassurances from Kelly, it’s like a repetitive stress injury.  I’d been having some burning pains in my thumb since last week, when I was churning out 500+ slides in preparation for my training sessions.  I’m going to try and schedule an appointment with my doctor for late this week.  I the meantime, I’m taking Advil regularly to reduce the swelling.

We were back home before 7 pm.

Originally published at From the Desk of Jamie Todd Rubin. You can comment here or there.

Up to New Jersey

Around 7 pm, we headed over to Sarah’s.  Originally, we were expecting 5 of us plus Oliver, the dog, to be going up to New Jersey, but Michael’s girlfriend was sick and didn’t end up coming.  So as soon as we got to Sarah’s, we piled into her car and got on the road.

It was a quite drive up.  No traffic and smooth sailing all the way.  We arrived at Sarah’s parent’s house around 11:30 pm.  Both Kelly and I are pretty tired so we’re heading off to bed.  We’ve got a lot planned for tomorrow.

Originally published at From the Desk of Jamie Todd Rubin. You can comment here or there.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

What with work, and the wedding plans, things have been rather hectic for the last few months.  But this weekend was a relaxing break from all of that.  We didn’t have to do any wedding-related stuff.  We didn’t have to to think about work.  It was peaceful and pleasant.  Kelly’s home town is like that.  We both slept well again.  We were up early and had breakfast.  We spent a few hours around the house, in the yard, playing with Oliver (the dog).

We took a tour of Kelly’s home town, driving around seeing various sites, seeing her high school, her old house, the park.  We went to the General Store for lunch (where I had an excellent tuna melt sandwich and vanilla shake).

Sometime around 1 PM, we started for home.  Kelly slept a lot on the way home, but the ride wasn’t bad and we made good time.  We were back at Sarah’s around 5 PM.  From there we headed home, and then out to do some grocery shopping.  The cats survived just fine in our absence.

It really was a relaxing weekend.  I really liked getting to see Kelly’s home town.  

I watched the first 6 innings of the Yankee game tonight–the last game at the old Yankee stadium.

And now, back to work tomorrow…