Armed with my iPod, headphones, and Froot Loops I was ready for our bus ride from DC to NYC. This was one of the times being so short comes in handy. While Gerry tossed and turned, rotated in every possible way in an attempt to get comfortable, without success, I sat comfortably with my extra jacket acting as a blanket, my feet barely reaching out into the isle. Unlike Gerry, Ben was able to fall asleep quickly, which was good for him since as soon as we got into the city he had to go straight to work. While I went to meet up with Kitt’s grandma to take her to the doctor, Gerry headed to work with Ben. As I sat in the waiting room, Ben sent me this awesome picture of Gerry catching up on some much needed sleep.
I had insisted that Ben didn’t need to accompany me, so I was very happy when I managed to get to the apartment on my own. I had never been in the city without Kitt, but I knew this area pretty well from our previous visits. Last summer Kitt and I went up to NY to visit Lula while she was sick, and even though I saw her struggling then, it was still difficult to see her current condition. The doctors had good news, she was getting better. To see a little bit of light back in her eyes was wonderful. She still has a long road ahead of her, but it was progress.
After bringing Lula home, I stayed for awhile to do some laundry and help them out with a few things around the house. When I left Florida I only expected to be gone for four days and packed accordingly. Bringing cupcakes took precedent over packing extra clothes, shoes or even my laptop. This would make my extended stay a little more difficult.
Remember that Easy Mac that I bought back in Virginia? I was getting hungry since I didn’t eat lunch, but didn’t want to leave because I was waiting for Lula’s sister, Elfi, as she was coming to stay for a few days and I had never met her. I opened up the Easy Mac and then realized they didn’t have a microwave. It’s just pasta right? I found a small pot and went to the stove, suddenly alarmed that it was a gas stove and I had no idea how to turn it on. Yes, I realize this is embarrassing on many levels, but it is what it is. I called Kitt and after laughing at me for several minutes, he helped me get the water boiling. In case you ever consider trying to cook Easy Mac on the stove, I wouldn’t recommend it.
After Elfi arrived I headed over to Kitt’s aunt and uncle’s place where I would be staying for the week. Kitt’s cousin Evan was home from college for spring break, another bonus of coming to visit this particular week. I spent some girl time with Kitt’s cousin Ella, finding out how her freshman year of high school was going so far. After ordering some pizza I decided to call it a night and fell asleep by nine o’clock.
Going to sleep so early has its consequences; I was awake by six o’clock. After checking Facebook I durdled around for a bit, then Gerry picked me up and we started our adventure downtown. Lunch at Hill Country with Ben Hayes, Brian David Marshall, Zvi Mowshowitz and Steve Sadin was on our agenda for the day. I opted to play it safe and ordered the Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese, which was by far the best I’ve ever had. It is possible that my Easy Mac experience the day before influenced my judgement, but based on the decision that 3 of our 4 sides would be the Mac & Cheese, that seems unlikely. After lunch I was in for a treat as we all headed to Billy’s Bakery. BDM was nice enough to share his slice of Ice Box cake with me. The NYC gamers have a tradition that when someone wins a tournament they have to buy cake, and often it is this delicious Ice Box cake that I had the pleasure of tasting.
While Ben and BDM headed back to work, Gerry, Steve and I headed in the direction of Steve’s “mansion”. After at least forty-five minutes of walking we arrived at a typical NYC apartment. The place was nice, although there wasn’t much space in the common area which included the kitchen, bathroom, a computer desk and two folding chairs. We hung out for a few hours with Gerry and Steve telling old stories from various tournaments. At one point, Gerry mentioned how I had never eaten a pear, and wouldn’t you know, Steve just happened to have some pears in his fridge. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity! I tried it, it seemed very similar to an apple, which sounded alarms in Gerry’s head, so he had to taste it as well. Gerry decided it was a bad pear and that I couldn’t count this experience as trying a pear. I wanted a second opinion so we passed the pear to Steve, and he quickly ate the entire thing, disagreeing with Gerry’s assessment. You may be wondering if “passing the pear” is code for something else, but I promise this was a literal pear and no Khalni Hydras or the like were involved. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, we grabbed dinner, met up with Ben Hayes and headed home.
There’s not much to report regarding Wednesday day, however Wednesday night was a lot of fun. I headed over to Ben’s and he took us to a nice Italian restaurant called Regional. Our waitress was very interesting, rather flighty or as Ben put it “high as a kite”. She was very excited to tell us the specials, seemed proud that she could remember them all, and even offered to tell us the specials from the night before, obviously biting off more than she could chew. Eventually Ben decided on the “special with all the seafood in it” as she couldn’t remember the actual name of the dish, Gerry ordered lasagna and I ordered spaghetti. As we were discussing the menu, Gerry joked that when he ordered the lasagna she would roll her eyes and sigh, implying he wasn’t sophisticated enough to order something else, and sure enough that is exactly what happened. It is important to note that when she finally brought Gerry his Coke it was accompanied by a pink flex straw, similar to what you would give to children. Dinner was delicious and very entertaining. As I am trying to expand my palate, I thought I would try one of Ben’s uneaten baby tomatoes that had been covered in various seafood. While I can’t say I enjoyed the taste, I’m glad I tried it. For dessert I ordered plain vanilla ice cream, emphasis on the plain part. When it arrived it has several blueberries on top, one more thing I had never eaten. Now in my own defense, I’ve had blueberries in my smoothies, but I had never eaten a raw blueberry on its own. The four or five that I consumed that night weren’t enough for me to decide if I liked them or not, but at least I could check one more food item off my bucket list.
As we walked back to Ben’s we were trying to decide on a movie to watch or something else to do since it was still pretty early. Ben’s sister Isabel (aka Izzy) was having a playtesting session back at the house so we knew there was gaming to be had if we wanted. Gerry casually suggests Twilight, and Ben causally says he’s never seen it, but wouldn’t mind watching it and is pretty sure Izzy has it at home. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I happen to like Twilight so I wasn’t opposed to this idea, but found it hysterical that they were both seriously considering it and I didn’t have to do any convincing. We were in luck! Izzy did in fact have Twilight, we had found our source of entertainment for the evening. I don’t think Ben and Gerry “liked” the movie, but there was talk of watching the other two movies later in the week, so it couldn’t have been THAT bad.
Slight detour- The first time I watched Twilight was Sunday night after GP
Tampa Palmetto. Liz Lempicki had convinced me to read the books, but neither of us had watched the movie yet. Sitting in my living room Liz and I were very excited. The same could not be said for the rest of my house which included Kitt, Michael Jacob, Patrick Chapin, and Gabriel Nassif, that is until MJ started chiming in. At one point we were all laughing so much we had to pause, we couldn’t let MJ miss another opportunity to crack a joke because our laughing was drowning out the TV. I don’t recall the exact quote but “mindless nulls” were involved. This was by far the most fun I have ever had watching a movie.
Ben was once again kept up past his bed time, considering he had to go to work in the morning. Thursday was guaranteed to be exciting as Sadin had scheduled Pastrami with Gamers at Katz’s Deli.