Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Happens in Vegas, Stays in... Pt 1

What happens in Vegas stays in, well, Astoria, appartently.

Here are the events of the week as I experienced them.

Several days ago I was chatting with a friend about Saturday evening, and the fact that Ryan and I had plans. We were going out to dinner. With another married couple. Without the baby. This was, I explained (though I probably didn't have to) a very big deal. We never get to go out just the two of us. We were even spending the night at our friends' apartment in Astoria, so there would be no worrying about who would drive, no rushing back to the babysitter.

Friday morning I got a text. Our babysitter was canceling. This was not OK. I needed this night out. And I knew that Ryan needed this night out. And he had mentioned several times over the past two months (yes, we had made these plans two months ago) how important the evening was. That it was the ONE NIGHT when we must be certain to have a sitter. I was angry and frustrated, and I knew he would be angry and frustrated, and I set to work finding a replacement.

That's all I did on Friday, really. I sat around and waited for people to get back to me. I was either actively contacting people, or sitting around being a nervous wreck, unable to focus on anything productive. I knew a few of my close friends already had plans- like... playing Ophelia in Halmet, or celebrating their own anniversary. Then some of my go-to girls from my theatre company started to get back to be. None of them were available. I posted it on facebook. Nothing. Then I started to get messages from a friend of a friend, because there were a few people devoting a lot of energy to finding us a babysitter. It was that important. And I was grateful that everyone seemed to understand that it was that important.

A little confused.

But grateful.

Ryan found someone on Friday afternoon around 4:30. Whew.

I set out on Saturday to teach a lesson in Manhattan in my usual fashion- a bag slung over my shoulder carrying different clothes, make-up, and shoes, so I could get dressed up to go out after I taught. I am starting to feel like I will spend all of my Saturdays this way. I taught, and then I wandered around Manhattan for two hours, just waiting for time to pass before my date. Finally, I had wandered as much as I could wander. I called Ryan and asked him what the plan was. "I'll be at Eddie and Melissa's around 8:00. I'm leaving the car in a garage that is one subway stop closer to Manhattan. I'll meet you at that subway stop and we can walk together."

8:00, eh? It was 6:00.

"I was thinking I might just go on to Eddie and Melissa's and get ready there. I'm really tired of carrying all my stuff around."

"No! I really want to walk with you."

"But my shoes are huge. I don't want to walk in my giant heels. And I don't have any place to get ready."

"We never get to spend time together! I want to walk with you."

"Fine!" I conceded. But this was really annoying. The Starbucks where I had been reading did not have a public restroom, and I didn't feel like wandering around Manhattan trying to find someplace, so I got on the train to Astoria. I arrived there about 6:45, and started, once more, to wander. Again I called Ryan.

"How long do you think you'll be?"

"It will be at least an hour."

"OK. There's seriously no place for me to go."


"Fine. I'll figure it out." But he was lucky this was not a first date.

As I started wandering- again- I got a text from Melissa. "Just leaving the city with my nails painted! So excited!" Getting my nails done is a pretty rare treat for me, but it gave me an idea. A nail salon would have a bathroom and a place for me to sit down for a while. And- could it be? A salons with manicures for $6. I couldn't sit at Starbucks for $6. So I picked out a plum colored polish, and let someone else take care of me for 30 minutes or so.

Then I called Ryan. Again. "OK, what's your ETA?" I could tell he was about to lose it when he told me that he was stuck at the toll and was at least 20 minutes away. I didn't want to make him feel even worse about being late, but come on. "Fine. Call me when you're here."

I found a bar and ordered a 7-and-7. And I sat and drank. By myself. Finally, the woman next to me asked-

"Are you waiting for someone, too?"

"I am. My husband."

"Yeah. Awkward, isn't it? Because until they show up, you're just drinking at a bar alone." We laughed and chatted for a few minutes before my phone rang. Finally.

I met Ryan under the subway. Not the most romantic start to a date I've ever experienced, but I was just happy he was there. With a suitcase. But I let it go.

We walked the few blocks to Melissa and Eddie's and chatted about my lesson and the woman at the bar and my purple nails. And as we climbed the steps to our friends' apartment, I expressed concern over wearing my hair down. I never wear my hair down.

"It looks fine." Well. That makes me feel better. "I think you might look a little too classy, though."

"Excuse me? Too classy, for what? For Astoria?" This was a little hurtful, since I was specifically going for an artsy look. I was confused. So I added "I have purple nails? Does that help?" I never got an answer, because that's when Melissa opened the door. In bunny ears. And Playboy pajama pants...

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wreck This Journal

I attended a bachelorette party on Friday night. I didn't want to go. It's not because I don't care about the bride, or the hostess, or the other guests. I was just... tired. I know the other toddler Mommies out there can understand. If you have a night off, you sort of want to stay home with your family in your jammies. But, I fixed my make-up, and got on the Metro North, which took me to the 6 train, which took me to the N train, and I arrived at the party, ready to make the most of it. I was handed a drink nearly immediately. OK, that helps... And then, I was handed a book.

"Wreck This Journal."

I didn't understand. It was just a book with a different instruction on each page. And the primary purpose is to wreck the book.

A BOOK. You want me to destroy a BOOK? I care about books. I have always cared about books. I'm writing one, for goodness sake. But I am a good sport, I can do this. Our hostess turned our attention to a page in the middle that said "rip this page out. Throw it away. Accept the loss." And it was kind of... liberating... actually. We spent the whole evening wrecking our books and talking. It's interesting that women have to have busy hands in order to connect. Men can just drink. We need to DO. And so we talked, and we drank, and we threw our books off of the balcony, and we set them on fire, and we tied strings around them and dragged them around the neighborhood. People stared (fortunately I am not shy) and asked what we were doing. We answered that it was a bachelorette party. Somehow, this was accepted as an answer that made sense. Oh, New Yorkers.

The longer the night went on, the more I got it. My inner-perfectionist let go. I got less and less worried about doing something the "right" way. I didn't save pages for when I was in the mood. And the results were all rather artistic. And honest. They were simple tasks, and they gave me an instant feeling of accomplishment.

There is a lot of freedom to be gained from wrecking this journal. I'm about halfway. So here it is. My new category of blogs. Wreck this blog. This could get messy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Can You Feel the Love Tonight?

I had heard that the first few minutes of Disney's "The Lion King" on Broadway are some of the most breathtaking moments people have seen on stage. Last Saturday, I sat in our secluded little area, (it's not where our seats were, but since we were with a Lion King employee and the area was empty, we got to sit in the middle of the six empty rows in the back. The best place to enjoy a show with a 17-month-old) and I felt the house lights go down, and I wondered. I am not easily impressed. Would I feel what others have felt?

Less than a minute later I was holding my breath and crying as I watched the beautiful events unfold. But I could not tell you what was happening onstage. Or what the elephants looked like. I could barely tell you what song they were singing. (OK, it was "Circle of Life," but come on. We've all seen the movie.) Because the sight that had me so swept up was not the show itself, but rather, my daughter watching the show.

She sat on a booster seat between Mommy and Daddy for the first minute. She laughed when the baboon came out. But when she saw the elephant pass by in the aisle, just inches away, she crawled onto Ryan's lap and wrapped her arms around his neck, facing the back of the house. She held on, but she never stopped watching. Once they had passed, she turned around to see the parade of animals make their way up to the stage. "Wassat?" she asked. (This version of the word highly preferable and much more developed than the former "What is it?" scrunched into one syllable. "Shi-iht?") And before we could answer her- "Oooooooh! Wow!" And she sat. And she watched. And she clapped. And she laughed. (including when Mufasa died. But we'll forgive her for not understanding the context.) And she saw nearly the entire full-length show at seventeen months old.

Our friend Lindsay, who got us the tickets, did take Lily out into the lobby for a few minutes during Act 1, and again for a few minutes in Act 2. But not for long, and only for the slower parts. She sat mesmerized through the rest, and by the time Scar was brought down, she was standing on my lap and clapping her hands and yelling "Yaaaayyyy!!!" (But again, she laughed when Mufasa died, so...)

Who knows how much she understood of the story. Very little, I'm sure. But she could feel it. She could feel the orchestra. And she could feel the energy in the room. She could see and hear the instruments ("Doot doot dooooooo!" and then looking for my reaction. Is that right, Mommy? Yes, baby girl. Those horns say "doot doot doo.") and the voices, and she could see the costumes and the sets. And she could go backstage after the show. And she got to meet the actors and even go trick-or-treating in their dressing rooms and have hot dogs with their families.

Being a Mommy is exhausting. And sometimes thankless. And being in theatre is exhausting. And often thankless. But last Saturday, Lily reminded me that things aren't so bad.