Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I did it!  I took a (one-night) vacation with a friend!!  We made it out our respective doors and up to D.C. for a grand time:  three thrift stores, a hotel, happy hour, the Cheesecake Factory for dinner, and Les Misérables at the movies, all in the company of a lovely friend.

The next weekend, I took my daughter to New York City for her birthday.  Neither of us has been there before.  We stayed with my sister in New Jersey and took NJ Transit into NYC for the day.

My daughter had her heart set on seeing Wicked, but with the lowest ticket price at $103, we just couldn't afford it.  So we opted to try for tickets through the theater's lottery -- you know, get there at such-and-such a time, put your name in the bingo spinner, cross your fingers, and have cash and ID ready.  At $30 a ticket for front-row seats, it's certainly worth trying!

My sister, my daughter, and I each put our name in for two tickets (the max any one name can get), chit-chatted with people from Massachusetts, NYC, all over, really, and generally chilled for awhile.  Well, I didn't really "chill"; I just sort of passed the time.  I thought I might throw up from the stress. Even though my daughter had a contingency plan of skating at Rockefeller Center and then a trip to the Top of the Rock, I really wanted Plan A for her.

The theater man spun the basket and pulled out 13 names, telling those not called to stay as he had to check IDs and verify cash payments.  Through Divine Intervention, I'm convinced, seats opened up and three more names were drawn.  My sister's was the last.  We were IN!!  The man from Massachusetts congratulated my daughter, wished her happy birthday, and went off with his wife to see Jersey Boys.  (My sister hadn't wanted to see Wicked even if we had had enough tickets, so that was OK.  She visited every Starbucks in Times Square and seems to have enjoyed herself!) 

As we walked around before show time, Times Square seemed just a little bit brighter.  Once inside the theater, I bought my daughter a Wicked hoodie and the souvenir program/poster/soundtrack package.  When the play began, we truly were close enough to see them spit.  And did.  Again, God was at work, because the couple behind us -- known from the earlier chit-chatting -- invited us to a backstage tour with "the Wizard," a friend of theirs.  My daughter's excitement was through the roof! 

My daughter's first transit train ride, first time in NYC, first cab ride, first purchase from a street vendor, first time in Times Square, first Broadway play, first time in front-row seats, first backstage tour, first time meeting a wizard... topped off by dinner at the Abbaye back in Philadelphia with her aunt and uncle.  I'd say that it was the. best. day. EVER!

The day after we got home -- her actual birthday -- we went out to dinner.  And came home to a flooded house.  An upstairs sink was left running with the drain stoppered.  Maybe three hours.  Water down the floor vent and into every nook and cranny, behind every wall, dripping through ceilings, under every piece of carpeting and vinyl, from the 2nd floor to the basement.  Sure, after 16 years, we needed new flooring, but this isn't how I wanted to get it!

The house has been torn up ever since.  ServPro dried us out.  Today the repairs started and are scheduled to continue for a week.  (Naturally, we have mentally doubled that estimate because, you know, once bitten by the contractor scheduling delay bug...)  Most rooms have been cleared of everything except the furniture.  Since a 2'x6' pantry is considered a room, all of my food is bagged up on the dining room table under a sheet of plastic.  I've been relegated to the typically unused living room -- housing a mammoth desk, a piano, and bookshelves -- along with all the first-floor breakables, a ficus tree, and the dogs.  There's no door on the living room, so my desk chair rolls back into their crates.  (Daisy, a border collie, likes to herd all creatures she considers "free range."  Most service workers don't take kindly to it.  Milo just wants to be loved and will jump all over you to get him some of that.  So yeah, they're crated.)

I can't say that I mind.  The house will get fixed.  Faucet lessons have been learned.  We lost only a six-pack of pocket tissues stored under the sink.  And once the repairs are complete and the new flooring is in, we'll be ready to throw a party.  Or a wedding, it's that spiffy.

Today, now that all my prep work is done, I'm sitting down to write.  Plus somehow the snack bag from the pantry is conveniently not under the plastic sheeting in the dining room but is just right handy to my laptop.  Pretzel, anyone?