For your information: young children dosed with melatonin will sleep uncomfortably in a traveling van for right at about 5.5 hours. Cool, yeah?
Yes, indeedy. Until that sixth hour, at which point it may or may not be 3 am, and may or may not be time to fuel up the car. If the stars are misaligned, it might also come to pass that your Hot Firefighter Husband chooses to stop a gas station that doubles as a crack house outside of Richmond, Virginia. And look, don’t go all Virginia is for Lovers on me. I’m from Florida. I know a convenience store-crack house when I see one, especially when there’s (Warning: STEREOTYPE ALERT) an enormous man wearing 20 pounds of actual gold in an idling car playing some music at the decibel level of a Lear Jet with lyrics that go like this: waaaFUCKwaaablahblahFUCKINMOTHERFUCKERwaablahFUCKYEAHFUCKYEAHFUCKYEAH.
When we got back on the road, I felt exhausted and stiff from trying to fold my 70 inches into comfortable dozing positions. I know it seems selfish for me to complain about being exhausted since Husband had been driving for 10 hours straight, but GENTLE REMINDER this whole flipping plan was his idea and anyway he’s used to being up all night shoving IVs into dying people.
The Diva was sprawled out on the third seat like, well, a diva, with two pillows, two blankets and three stuffed animals. She was sleeping fine. “Why don’t you switch places with her?” Husband said. So as we hurtled down the road at 80 mph, I climbed over two lap desks, an ice chest, 10 pairs of shoes, and a bag of Doritos and sent the Diva up front. Somehow this upset the Pterodactyl’s equilibrium, or maybe his sense of justice, and the next 45 minutes went like this:
Me: falling into slumber
Boy: Mom. Mom. Mom.
Boy: My leg hurts.
Me: rub boy’s leg, feel self relaxing into sleep
Boy: Mom. Mom. Mooooooooooom.
Me: Okay, okay. What.
And so on, until I switched places with him. Then he sprawled across the third seat and passed out, and I caught up on my Words with Friends game. R-O-A-D-T-R-I-P is not one word.
Around dawn, Husband said we should think about stopping for breakfast. Then he said, “You know, we’re only about three hours from New York City.” I had no response to that, so he said it again. “You know, we’re only about three hours from New York City.”
“Wow,” I said.
Long story short: We decided to visit the Big Apple!
As Husband drove, I used my iPhone to price out hotel rooms, and finally found a Deluxe Quad Room in Chelsea for $200, which sounded perfect! What could go wrong?
The room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we headed for the #1 New York City tourist attraction: the Times Square Toys ‘R’ Us ferris wheel. On the way, we were stopped by Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty, Elmo, and Dora the Explorer — all of whom insisted on hugging our children emphatically until we coughed up money in exchange for their release.
After purchasing two Barbie dolls, a Monster High doll and another bag of Doritos, we took a cab back to our Deluxe Quad Room. Husband needed a nap so badly he could have played a part in the Twilight movies. So we got the key, and walked into our Deluxe Quad Room for rest time.
Well. Perhaps the five of us could have slept there, as long as one of us slept in the shower, but the two Barbie dolls and the Monster High doll put us over the edge.
“How is this going to work?” I said, thinking to myself. There were only two double beds. Before the words were even out of my mouth, Husband said, “Should we get another room? Let’s get two rooms. We can’t sleep this way. Call and get another room.”
Sigh. So we did! Because what else do we need to spend money on? I mean, besides food, clothing, and anti-depressant medication.
After napping, we met some friends for drinks at a famous hip beer garden and had a fabulous dinner, not counting when the boy ran away from us in the Chelsea High Line park and tried to blend in with the public at large. “It’s an elevated park,” my friend said. “Where can he possibly go?” The boy doesn’t like challenges like that, so he disappeared. But he was found, and no harm done except for the pinching and scratching.
Back at the hotel, Husband and the tiny 35-lb Tyrant slept on the 8th floor in a king-sized bed, and I slept with the 70-lb Pterodactyl in a double, who chose that night to begin sleeping sideways. The Diva slept by herself, of course.
End result: my children have been to New York City! We did not see any big stars, but listen to this — we saw a bunch of guys with telephoto lenses hanging around on a street corner, and they told us they were waiting for Katie Holmes! “Are you paparazzi?” asked the Diva. One guy looked at her like he was going to spit at her, then he saw how small she was and he just dropped his chin down and whispered, “Yeah.” So WHOO-HOO! We saw paparazzi! I can see Katie Holmes any time I want in People magazine, so this was far more interesting.
But fast-forward a couple of days, and I am writing to you while drinking a rum and tonic and Hot Firefighter Husband collects eggs from the chicken coop out back. Yep, that’s what I said. LOVE. Will tell you all about it soon.