I chose to accept the mission: Pack myself and two kids with my husband into a car for the 4 hour trip to West New York, NJ, to see MiMaug (Grandma). iPods: check. Video games: check. DVDs and 2 TVs mounted to headrests: check. Snacks and drinks: check. Kids sent to bathroom: check. OK. Wait. I have to use the facilities, too! OK!
We are so spoiled. My parents had nothing to distract us from long trips, and long trips were torture for all of us. For our trip, I packed equal weights of clothing and toiletries and of electronic devices. And it worked great. We stayed in the Comfort Inn in Edgewater, not glamorous, but very pleasant, and spent the days in West New York at MiMaug's high-rise. July fourth was lazy and easy. We ate and waited for fireworks comfortably, at home. The Macy's show was right outside! Private balcony seating! Easy.
It was the 5th that was hard. MiMaug wanted to go to Manhattan. 70 years old and she walked us into the ground! First we took a bus through the tunnel to Port Authority. Then we walked. MiMaug does not believe in taxis, not even the "Cash Cab". We took the kids to the Sanrio store, then walked to Rockefeller Plaza to see the Nintendo World store. MiMaug, Samantha, Auntie, Uncle and cousin all walked through the street fair on the way to RP, but not me. Avery and I were ready to sit, so we walked with Jason to Nintendo World, and sat. And then we sat some more. Avery got his picture taken with Mario and Luigi (yay!) and bought a T-shirt etc. He never got bored of that place. When the rest of the party arrived, we stayed long enough for the girls to enjoy the store, then WALKED to Dopo Teatro. Through Times Square. On a Sunday. (ugh!) We sat in the Secret Garden room and were attended to by Alexander, a lovely lad. Water trickled down the wall (a fountain, not a leak) and it was cool and quiet. (Ah!) It felt like we had been transported out of the city! The food was lovely. I fell asleep in my seat. After a cup of coffee (I skipped dessert), WE WALKED BACK TO PORT AUTHORITY.
Now y'all may be thinking, what is the big deal with the walking? Well, when you have kids to watch, and they aren't city savy (Avery and I nearly got clipped by a minivan because we waited for a light one step off the curb) and you have to carry all the things kids need to remain hydrated and comfortable on a long urban hike... it adds up! And I was pooped. But... the kids had a great time, as did the Queen (my pet name for my mother-in-law) so it was all worth it.
Our reward for all the hard work: One full night's sleep before we had to pack up and drive back to Massachusetts. The kids played "Kirby" all the way home, and I slept. Once home, Jason layed on the bed and passed out. We were all exhausted by our easy, spoiled travels. Boo Hoo!
There is more about our trip, the Japanese aspect, but I will save that for part two.