Finally, I am blogging about my whirlwind weekend in NY/NJ on April 9-11! I flew out for my sister’s 40th birthday, but, as is my style, I jammed in as much as humanly possible in 24 hours…
BLOODSHOT EYES AND BUSTED BOOTS (AND BRRRR)
I still have little guys at home, so during these trips, I try to minimize time away (that hubby will have to do all the shuttling and caring for the kids) and maximize my time wherever I'm going. This means I take the red-eye from SFO to NY. Usually I take it to Newark and then have my sister pick me up. Then I sleep for 2 hours and start my day. But this time, I took the flight straight to JFK. I had a big morning planned: Coffee with my new (to me) agent, followed by lunch with my new (to me) editor.
I managed to pack light so I only had a carry-on, and felt like I was totally put together. I wore the outfit I was going to wear in the city the next morning. I got to the airport early, but noticed as I was walking to my gate that something weird was going on with my boot. I thought, "I stepped in gum." But it was worse. I was stepping on a big chunk of rubber - that was hanging off the heel of my *expensive* Fluevog boot! Ugh! I managed to shove it back onto the pin-type thingies and said a prayer it would hold until I got to NY, where maybe, miraculously, sometime between 9 and 10 a.m. I'd find a conveniently located shoe repair shop to fix it for me.
Got to my seat, popped my sleep aid pill, plugged up my ears, put my eye-shield on, snuggled in my blankets (I know I looked homeless, but that's how I roll on the red-eye), and willed sleep to come upon me. After all, I had only 5 hours to get as much sleep as possible. After about an hour I fell asleep, only to wake after another hour with two blocks of ice for feet. I must have had the draftiest seat on the plane (Delta, row 28, seat F). Freezing cold air was blowing on my legs when I woke up. Everyone around me was sound asleep. Were no one else's teeth chattering? I pulled my feet up under my blanket and managed another hour of sleep, but that was it.
In my groggy state, I made it off the plane and saw the signs for COFFEE. I needed coffee. So, I make my way past the double glass security doors or, as I now fondly call it: THE POINT OF NO RETURN. As soon as my foot went from carpet to tile, I realized it. The heel of my boot was gone. Not flapping, like before, but clear off. I run back to the glass doors and explain to the security woman what happened. She listened so sympathetically how my boot piece was a mere 50 feet away at 'that gate right there', then she said, Sorry, can't help you. Can't let you go back. What? My gate is right there…I can see it! So, I had to find a Delta agent to help me. Would you believe I found a woman who was willing to go back to my plane not once, but twice (!) – the first time she didn't go back far enough to my row -- and came back out with my heel? I know! There ARE good people in this world, I say.
So, not taking any chances, I put the heel in my purse and hobbled my way to Starbucks for a giant coffee. I will add that the whole not sleeping thing at the very least, kept my hair looking great.
So, I got my coffee, found my shuttle to midtown and plunked myself on the bus.
When I arrived at Port Authority, I quickly made my way to the Westin just up the street. By the time I got to the city, finding a cobbler was out. As luck would have it, I passed a Duane Reed and bought some Krazy Glue. Then I entered the Westin, acted like I was checking in and went to the bathroom, where I proceeded to pull Charlize Theron in Monster, as I got ready - brushed teeth, fixed hair, put on makeup - in the hotel bathroom (shhh). I went into the handicapped stall, krazy-glued the heel of my boot and said another prayer it would last the day - or at least until I got to my sister's in NJ later. I then sauntered downstairs and told the bellman I had just checked out and would he kindly check my bags here for the afternoon?
I was off to Columbus Circle to meet my wonderful agent, Jennifer Unter. Photo of her would normally be inserted here, but of course I forgot to take a photo with her. Grrr.
I had coffee with her and her sweet son Simon, who warmed up to me shortly after I gave him a stuffed animal. It was nice to finally meet Jen in person, after many long distance phone calls. She’s super cute and much more petite than I had pictured, so naturally, I felt like a giant at 5’9”. I told her what I was working on and we just talked about life in general. A great way to start my morning.
After we went our separate ways, I decided I would walk for awhile before I had to catch a cab to the Harcourt Offices. (brave, I know, being that my boot could fall apart at any minute). I walked and walked, breathing in the smells of NY and taking in the sights. It was a slightly overcast day, but I was so excited to meet my editor, (Sam McFerrin) that it could have been pouring rain and I wouldn’t have noticed.
I headed towards Park Avenue and hailed a cab. Then I gave him the wrong address – well, I didn’t think I did, but I did. I thought there was just Park Avenue, and there was a north and south. Wrong. I had him up near 52nd street and we needed to be down around 18th. Oops. Good thing I had left plenty of time for mistakes! I finally arrived at the Harcourt building and was actually 5 minutes early. I chatted with the security desk and then I was up….to the 11th floor. Someone let me in and showed me to Sam’s office. Two minutes later she walked in and right away we hit it off. She showed me two of the novelty books she has worked on, that we’re going to model Trucks after, and then kindly offered me some books for my boys. I gave her a stuffed monkey for her son.
We set out to lunch at Pippa’s restaurant and both had a Cobb salad and a drink. She of course, had water. I had a glass of cabernet... (Note to self: big glass of wine does not mix well with 2 hours of sleep)...and I proceeded to talk her ear off. Or so I think. Either way, it was a lovely lunch and we had a good laugh about our relatives and how they invented their own vernacular that sometimes rears its ugly head in our own conversations. I think we talked/lunched for 2 hours. Finally we got the waiter’s attention and Sam graciously picked up the check. We said our goodbyes, but this time, remembered to snap a photo! Here we are in front of Pippa’s.
She’s adorable, right?
I thanked her, then hailed a cab to the Westin, Times Square, where I was able to collect my bag. Headed to Port Authority, got my bus ticket (I know, I should stop pampering myself), and took the hour long bus ride to my sister’s house in NJ.
By the time I got to my sister’s house it was nearly 4 p.m. We picked up my adorable nephew and niece (both of whom raced into my arms, “Auntie Sue!!!!”) and drove home, to be met by my wonderful Aunt Barbara, who just celebrated her 71st birthday. We hung out and chatted for a long time and played with the kids. We ordered take-out for dinner and celebrated Barbara’s birthday, which was April 6.
Saturday morning my best friend Kerry drove down from New York with her 2 year old to see us and we visited for a few hours and lunched together. It was great to see Kerry and her daughter Carlie is so sweet.
After lunch it was off to the races for Christine’s 40th Birthday party at their favorite local Italian restaurant. The party was a huge success and my photo book that I made for her was a big hit. The food was so good (and I ate too much), and the prosecco and wine were flowing. It was a late night, with 5 of us closing down the restaurant.
Spent the next morning with my sister’s family, got to the airport, only to discover at check-in that my flight was delayed. Fortunately I had access to the Delta Sky Lounge and spent the time writing, drinking beer and watching Tiger try to scrub his name clean at the Masters, before my flight home. All told, I left 3 hours late and got home at midnight PST, so 3 a.m. EST.
But all the sleep deprivation was worth it! I had a fantastic time...