We are the first leg of our quick little sojourn down the Big Apple, but not before a quick stay in NJ for R's meeting. We knew we were in for a long drive, but for whatever reason, this took longer than we'd anticipated. We first had to scramble to take care of things at home, though when you go no quick road trips, there's not as much anxiety because you're never too far from home. When you make three week trips to Europe, however, then you cross your fingers and hope for the best.
We usually have a woman who comes to watch the cats, which is pretty easy because we keep them inside when we are away. Misty and Dusty are great cats, but once they get outside, forget about getting them back in. R will spend up to 30 minutes trying to retrieve them at night, and we couldn't expect someone else to do the same. So we keep them inside. This makes them extremely unhappy, but as our good friend W once said, their opinion doesn't count.
Anyway, our usual person, who is a reliable source because like a lot of Vermonters, she never goes out of town, is actually out of town this weekend, to visit her daughter. The nerve! Who does she think she is, visiting her children instead of watching our cats! I think she should have canceled her trip.
As luck would have it, we had just finished watching our neighbor's cat. We really like our neighbors, they are cool and interesting people, but have never really broken through and spent time with them. They tend to keep to themselves, though they are nice to the kids. The man of the house is one of those typical Vermont men who can pretty much do anything by himself, including building an addition to their house. Impressive.
I felt bad entering into a quid pro quo situation, but I figured you couldn't beat it for convenience. After all, they live right next to us, and of course, they were very agreeable to it. Best of all, we now have reliable, convenient and trustworthy friends to watch our cats when we're away, and vice versa. You gotta love that.
It was a scramble to get out the door. R had to go to work, and I had to tie up loose ends and clean up (not my strong suit) and pack our things. By the time R got home, it was almost 3:00 and I knew it would be late when we got to Princeton, which happens to be deep down in the state. Believe it or not, I managed to make one last batch of pickles before we left (cold pack).
The bright note was that we weren't going far, and it was a short trip, so employing my travel mantra of packing for half the number of days, I fit everything into my backpack. Each of us only had one bag, so it was easy getting out the door. The drive down was sort of brutal, however, because we were taking off right around the time that I get hit with a massive case of fatigue. I'm an afternoon napper, when I can squeeze one in (i.e., when the kids will let me). I don't need much, just ten to fifteen minutes and I'm good, but without it, I'm dragging for the rest of the day.
Driving can be particularly challenging, especially at night. By the time we hit the NY/NJ border, I was so sleepy, we actually did two things completely out of character for us - I had coffee at night, and we let the kids eat McDonalds. It was only a milkshake, but even still, we're supporting the root of the problem, the so-called evil empire. Sometimes you just have to sleep with enemy.
The drive seem to go on forever, and because it was dark we couldn't enjoy the lovely scenery so characteristic of Ivy League campuses, but at that point, we didn't care. We had taken an alternate route to avoid Boston and New York rush hour traffic, but ended up taking small roads that took even longer. It was reminiscent of our whole debacle getting lost going to the Tunbridge Fair. By the time we got to Princeton, we just wanted to get some sleep, though I must admit, the coffee was performing it's magic.
We arrived around 10:00 PM, jumped into our beds, and were out like a light, though as usual, I was hungry. Oh well, the challenges of travel.
Today should be an interesting day. R has her meeting and we have to check out before it's done. She'll probably have the car, so we are sort of stranded, and these types of meetings always go longer than anticipated. So we'll wait and see, because we are also heading for the Big Apple after that. There is a pool, so we have recreation, and if need be, we're in retail hell, so there are assorted stores and restaurants that we could walk to, though as Bill Bryson pointed out, when you walk around these strip malls, you're taking your life in your own hands, because our culture is not friendly to those who do not drive.
Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Michaël van Leeuwen for the pic.