Thursday, June 26, 2008

Me N The City: Part 14 – Homecoming

Throughout my trip, I had done much better than expected on the “sad Mommy” part. Don’t get me wrong – Hubby had strict instructions to send me videos and photos of the little one as often as possible so every few hours I would get a snap shot or two of “morning walk” or “bathtime” to help ease the blues. And, of course, every time we’d see a little one in a stroller my heart would melt a little more. But there were no tears, no major depression and no major dent in our weekend joy.

However, as Sarah and I boarded our flight in NYC to head back to Chicago, I was ready. We had had a great weekend, albeit one full of Murphy’s Law events, but we got to spend a lot of really great girl time that we hadn’t had in years and years. I wouldn’t have chosen any other way to spend my first mommy-weekend-away or anyone else to spend it with. Sarah and I don’t get to see each other more than a few times a year at best and it was wonderful to have that reconnect time. (Even though I’m now in withdrawals).

But now it was time to go back to my family. We made it to O’Hare without event and as we approached my gate, we heard them calling my last name – my flight was boarding NOW and it was last call. We exchanged sudden, quick hugs, and I sprinted for the jetway. Once safely on board, alone for the first time in three days, I had time to think about what I was heading home to. I had a wonderful hubby who had gladly given up his whole weekend to be a single dad just so I could have mine. I never had to worry once if Cora was being cared for properly or if she felt happy and safe. I had a wonderful weekend with a wonderful friend to show for it. I was blessed. But I knew that now the only thing I wanted was for the oversized cigar tube I was sitting in to get back to Iowa as soon as safely possible. I wanted my family.

That 45 minute flight seemed inordinately long, and the closer we got the ancier I got. I knew my parents would be waiting for me at the airport with Cora in tow (Hubby was diligently hosting our Sunday open house at home) and I just wanted to hold my baby. By the time we taxied into the gate, I was one of those annoying passengers who sprung up into the aisle before the “ding” of the seatbelt sign could end its chime. I actually found myself saying – almost out loud – “c’mon… c’mon people… c’mon.” As we exited the plane I was passing people on the jet bridge, and powerwalking through the airport like a granny in a mall.

Once the escalators to the waiting area came into sight a million things went through my mind:

Will she remember me? What if she’s forgotten me already? Babies don’t have long memories. Wow when did I get all sappy like this? I never liked kids. I didn’t even like babysitting. Am I seriously all in a swivet over seeing my kid? Wow, I am. I really am. Darn right I am. I want my Coco NOW! ... But what if she doesn’t remember me??

I skipped the escalators and ran down the stairs – I saw my mom holding my little munchkin and felt my heart literally tug. Who knew those colloquialisms were based on something real? She had her head turned the other way and was waiving and saying “hi” to all the people walking by on their way to baggage claim. I snuck up behind her and simply said “Coco – who is it?” She turned around and looked me right in the eye… nothing. No reaction whatsoever. No smile, no tears, nothing. She just stared at me. My heart dropped into my stomach – she had forgotten me!

I quickly put my bag down and grabbed my child from my mother’s arms and said “Coco – its Mommy!” Instantly she buried her head in my neck, wrapped both little arms around my shoulders hanging on for dear life, and kicked her little feet fast and furious. This went on for a good two minutes before I could even get her to look up. When she did her little face was beaming. It wasn’t that she hadn’t remembered me, it was that she was overcome when she saw me and didn’t know what to do. I understood that.

We got my bags – or rather my parents got my bags … Cora was NOT letting mommy go – and we headed out of the airport. I was heading home to see the love of my life while sitting next to the best thing I’d ever done. I realized then that while the weekend in NYC was wonderful, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go again (just maybe this time with the whole family and with a little more time to spare), that the best part of the trip was coming home. I never thought I’d be excited to leave NYC and come back to Iowa. But I was. And for the first time in my life, Iowa seemed like the exact right place to be

The End.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Me N The City: Part 13 – Like Butta?

The alarm seemed to go off all too soon. But since our reservation at local hotspot Butter was for 8:00 we peeled ourselves out of bed around 6:15 to get ready for whatever the night held. One look in the mirror told me it was going to take all the time I had to be able to do just that. The rain and our “adventures” had left me looking less than adorable.

We pranced around our hotel room swapping mirror space, hairspray zones and makeup tips. Sarah helped me tease my hair into submission (I’ve just never gotten the hang of it ... you wouldn’t think it would be that hard) and then it was time to get dressed. Uh oh. I had half-planned on finding something fabu at Century 21 to wear to Butter. My office-suitable Ellen Tracy dress wasn’t going to cut it. I’d have to dig out something I brought. Except after a day of high expectations, nothing I’d carted to the city from home seemed right. To top it all off, I was having a “fat” day. Don’t judge – we all have them. It didn’t help that I was watching Sarah get into her little jersey knit dress which I was guessing was a size negative 4. (Maybe there is something to this vegetarian thing after all…)

I tried on just about everything in my suitcase – twice. I finally settled on a grey knit sleeveless mini-dress with a satin ruffled bib collar from Forever 21 (yes… I was wearing what amounts to ‘disposable clothing’ to one of NYC’s most fashionable dinner spots – I was desperate). We checked ourselves over in the mirror, decided we were up to snuff, and headed down to the lobby – this time to get a cab no matter what!

As the cab wound its way along the city streets I remembered my first time going to Butter. I had never heard of it before (it was brand new), but our hotel concierge recommended it. I was with my sister who had flown me to NYC for my 30th b-day – my first time in the city (apart from the airport). I remember not being able to get a reservation until 10:15 (unheard of in Iowa) and when the cab dropped us off, he thought we were in the wrong place. It was a dark desolate street full of tightly closed, gated and grafittied storefronts. But once inside were were amazed at the beauty – and at the food. Not to mention the cute boy I had been eyeing all weekend at the hotel walked in not too long after we were seated. What were the odds?? After dinner we all went down to the bar in the basement level and shared dessert and drinks. The place was magical. Since that time, it has become a playground for the rich and famous so I was even more excited and full of wonder with what we might see this time around.

Here is what we were in for:

Trendy restaurants are lucky if their "it" factor lasts a full year, but Butter has managed to keep the Blackberries of the velvet rope crowd buzzing since 2002. Much of this has to do with the still fresh, space-age forest design--the arched upstairs with its illuminated tree mural and the downstairs with its birch-lined walls. The New American menu, featuring dishes like caviar and potato salad, Hudson Valley duck breast and Montauk Point striped bass "au poivre," is merely icing on the debutante cake.

I couldn’t wait to experience the magic again. But when we pulled up things seemed a little different. First of all, it was still light out since we were visiting in June instead of November. The street had become more alive and it didn’t seem quite as forbidden or exotic as before. But as we walked in, I was once again at peace with my choice – there was Butter in all its glory. Like a beautiful wooded retreat. We walked in, gave our name to the maĆ®tre d' (since I had made my reservation as far in advance as they would allow and then confirmed the night before) and waited to be escorted to our table.

As we walked down the hall to the main dining area I drank in my surroundings – until we started to turn and head down a set of stairs. I was confused. Sure enough, we were seated not in the main dining room, but in the restaurant equivalent of “steerage” – the basement. Apparently, its is not a club until 10:00 and they seat “others” down there until that time. We were next to a family of five – with small children – and a set of tourists that were clearly not from this country. I was crushed. All my hopes for a fabulous evening of seeing and being seen were dashed.

In addition, we got the world’s slowest waiter. All in all, we were there 3 hours – until just after 11:00 – and had to ask for our bill three times! Although it was something we had never done, both of us were tempted to simply get up and leave without paying. When I cordially pointed out to the waiter that we had asked for the check 3x and had been there three hours now, he got defensive and spat back “Well you were talking”. Apparently we were supposed to eat in silence. At least the food was, as I remembered, wonderful. And of course the company had made everything else melt away as we got lost in conversation after conversation of girl talk.

We finally got settled up and headed out. Once again our hopes of going out clubbing were diminished by our late end to dinner and our long day catching up with us. We decided we’d just head back to the hotel and see if we had the umph to get a cocktail at the bar. But we both knew flying back home in the morning would be not-so-fun with a hangover. As we climbed into the cab for the ride home and set off back uptown, I looked around at the skyscrapers and lights glinting in the deep city night. It was still a great city, and a great time with one my best friends in the world. The other stuff – shopping, eating, seeing and being seen – was transient.

… to be continued.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fun Survey

Fun Survey
I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments. What do you buy?
1. Produce: clementines
2. Bakery: whole grain bread
3. Meat: Chicken (we have half a beef of Holzer cow in the freezer!)
4. Frozen: Bunny Trax Ice Cream
5. Dry goods: Interesting Architecture or design magazine

Let's say we are heading out for a warm weekend getaway. You're only allowed to bring 3 articles of clothing with you. So, what's in your bag?
1. Bathing Suit
2. Cocktail Dress
3. Comfy one piece suimsuit coverup that can double as a casual dress

If I was to listen in on one of your conversations throughout the day, what 4 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
1. Really? Really? Seriously?
2. Cora, mommy is right here - you're fine - you don't need to get upset.
3. I'm so tired.
4. I need to workout.

So, what 4 things do you find yourself doing every single day, and if you didn't get to do, you probably wouldn't be in the best mood?
1. Brush my teeth
2. Sleep
3. Hug my kiddo
4. See my hubby

You're driving down the road, and suddenly you're hit with this sense of road rage. What 3 factors probably contributed to it?
1. Someone who cut me off because they are clearly more important than me
2. Someone who was going slow until I tried to pass them and then sped up
3. Someone weaving in and out of traffic because they are clearly more important than everyone

Sweet, you just scored a whole afternoon to yourself. We're talking a 3 hour block with nobody around. What 5 activities might we find you doing?
1. Reading
2. Spa visit
3. NAP!
4. Hang out in the sun if its nice
5. Go to Target and go SHOPPING

We're going to the zoo. But, it looks like it could start storming, so it will have to be a quick visit. What 3 exhibits do we have to get to?
1. None - I hate the zoo - its depressing to see those animals in cages.
2. Maybe an aquarium if they have one.
3. ...

You just scored tickets to the taping of any show that comes on t.v. of your choice. You can pick between 4, so what are you deciding between?
1. How I Met Your Mother
2. Top Chef
3. Vegas (is that even still on)?
4. Project Runway

You're hungry for ice cream. I'll give you a triple dipper ice cream cone. What 3 flavors can I pile on for ya?
1. Mint Chocolate Chip
2. Bunny Tracks
3. Chocolate Peanut butter

Somebody stole your purse/wallet…in order to get it back, you have to name 5 things you know are inside to claim it. So, what's in there?
1. LV Wallet
2. LV Credit Card Holder
3. Keys on stainless "H" key ring
4. about 75 lipglosses
5. Most likely one of Coco's hair bows that she pulled out of her hair

You are at a job fair, and asked in what areas you are interested in pursuing a career. Lets pretend you have every talent and ability to be whatever you wanted, so what 4 careers would be fun for you?
1. Clothing Designer
2. Interior Designer
3. Singer
4. Photographer