So I'm doing this write-up of my Vacation in 4 parts, because describing the whole experience in one post is just too much. It should be noted that the days get better. I promise.
I should begin by saying that Eric made a promise to me, about two years ago, that I would see New York City. Not just GO to New York City, but actually see it. He had no grounds to make a promise like that. We had just bought a new home, and we weren't sure he'd find a job after graduation, and neither of us knew how long before my sight gave out. But he made the promise anyway. Because he knew it meant something to me. And then the movie Up came out, and he realized just how much he wanted to keep that promise. About two months ago, we sucked it up, we booked the trip, and we hoped for the best.
We were trying to save a little money, so Eric and I decided that we weren't going to pay the $40 shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel. It seemed silly, since, according to the New Jersey Transit website, the total cost would be about $12 for the two of us to take the bus and the train. And only three transfers! And so began our descent into public transportation hell. I won't go into details except to say that Bus 61X DOES NOT EXIST and I'm still trying to figure out which tickets we were supposed to buy for the rail line. Total cost, after all the mistakes we made was somewhere around $28, which is cheaper than $40, but not quite as cheap as not wanting to get divorced after the first hour.
Funny story #1: The last bus transfer was a nightmare to locate. We crossed heavy oncoming traffic to get to it. Eric hadn't slept in 23 hours, and I was still getting over having my thigh touched for way too long by the Chinese guy on the train. My cane was hurting my hand. Once we were on, we didn't know where to get off, and the driver was curb-checking every six seconds. Needless to say, I had sort of checked out of reality back in Newark. As I got off the bus, the driver stops me and says, "Hold on, I have to say something. I really admire your shirt." So I looked down at my plain green tee, and said a surprised, but sincere, "Thanks." It took me a couple of minutes before processing that he was admiring my "strength" and not my shirt. Still, New Jersey is way nicer than I initially gave credit for.
So we got to the hotel and the travel gods smiled upon us by upgrading the room to a Club Suite, which just meant free continental breakfast... although, seriously? I'm not, like, a diva or anything by saying that continental breakfasts should be standard, right? It's a banana and a danish. Let's not get carried away with terms like "club" and "suite" here.
So the first thing we did was take the ferry to New York. And then someone was a jerk, and scoffed when we asked where to find the Staten Island ferry. Because people who work for something called NY Waterway SHOULD act like the Staten Island ferry location is a dumb thing to ask about.
After sitting on a bus for forty-five minutes, we found it. And I learned that Eric doesn't know how to take a picture to save his life. And I got a little emotional, and we both missed our kids because they would have loved to see the Statute of Livery. We had a really good moment, there on the ferry, just taking it all in.
Then we walked around Battery Park and saw the site of the future 9/11 memorial, and trekked around Wall Street, searching for a place to eat, before realizing that bankers DON'T EAT, and so we headed to Katz's where Eric ate the most delicious turkey sandwich known to man, and I had an okay soup and a really weird tasting pickle. We walked around the city for a while, and headed for the Apple Store on 59th, so I could buy an ipod charger.
I think some other stuff happened, but I really don't know what that would be. Thursday was pretty surreal.
Maybe the biggest deal was when I looked out, on the ferry ride home, and saw the twinkling skyline of Manhattan, and I realized... Eric made a dream happen. He didn't let anything get in the way. Not jobs, not money, not school, not blindness, not kids, not car trouble, not bus transfers or rude ferry workers or 23 hours without sleep.
I got to see my Paradise Falls. And I fell in love with him all over again.
"Look at me, Here I am
Right where I belong.
I see that face coming back to me like an old familiar song.
What better place could anyone be?
Cos you're here with me.
It's all I've been looking for, and so much more.
And now I'm here, now you're here;
Nothing can go wrong,
Cos I'm right where I belong."
-=Muppets Take Manhattan, 1984
(I could have ended with:
"Then because you share a love so big, I now pronounce you Frog and Pig."
because I know Eric would have loved it, but I'm not sure it packs the same punch.)