Monthly Archives: August 2011

Super-dogging the Natural History Museum

OK, back to our NYC adventures. I think we were up to Thursday of last week? Is that right? Who knows. It’s all kind of a blur now that we’re home anyway. But, let’s say it’s Thursday of last week, the 18th. Slept in again, so late that Kismet’s dog walker, Ray, showed up while we were getting ready to leave the house at 1:00PM.

Mrs. Yeti was mortified (“Urgh, it’s so late, he must think we’re total losers!”) but I, after having the room cleaned around me all week at the Paramount, was a little less mortified. Besides, a 1:00PM start time with a toddler seemed downright early in my book.

Anyway, don’t remember what we ate for breakfast, but, I do know that we had Mr. Softee chocolate shakes for lunch. I’m not usually a fan of soft-serve milkshakes, but, something about Mr. Softee slays me every time. Maybe it’s their cute-ass logo or the fact that their ice cream trucks are EVERYWHERE during the summer. Whatever it is, they taste great, especially for lunch!

We then hiked up Broadway from Columbus Circle to walk around Lincoln Center. We had never been there before, and it was gorgeous, just acres and acres of performance space and groovy, mid-century architecture. Oh, and did I mention that they had posters for upcoming ballets everywhere we looked? Greta was in heaven. Seriously, she was dancing the whole time.

We then wandered across the Lincoln Center campus — seriously, that place is gigantic! — towards the Julliard School’s student bookstore. I know it’s lame, but, ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to go to Julliard. I can’t act, or dance or sing to save my life, but, just knowing that a school like that existed was kind of thrilling to a burgeoning film geek. So, despite the protestations of my wife that we already have way too many, I bought a Julliard coffee mug. Yep, that’s how I roll…

Grabbed some healthy snacks at a farmer’s market nearby — lemme tell ya, big apple apples are truly amazing! — and then hopped back on the subway towards the Natural History Museum. You know, the really famous old museum they always use in movies and stuff? That’s the one. Truth be told, I was kinda dreading the price tag though. Adult tickets are $19 and tickets for children ages 2-12 cost a whopping $10.50. I know, I know, it’s not anywhere near Disneyland prices, but, wow, $50 for a freaking museum? Yikes…

Luckily for us, the museum is free for the last hour and fifteen minutes of the day (who knew?) so, for once, arriving late actually paid off. We had to wait ten minutes till the actual “free time” began, but, hey, what’s ten minutes when you’re saving fifty bucks? Whoo-hoo!

The only downside, of course, was that we had to practically run through the museum — or as my Mom would call it, “super-dogging” — but, hey, did I mention we saved fifty bucks? Anyway, it was awesome, we saw everything we wanted to see and Greta went absolutely crazy for the dinosaur bones. Seriously, I have never seen her so excited in a museum, she was all: “Oh my God, Mommy, look!” and “Wow! Big!” It was hilarious!

So, after closing down the gift shop (which kinda sucked) we hopped back on the subway towards home, where we polished off the bountiful leftovers from our humongous Italian dinner the night before. Oh, we went out for yummy desserts later at the place from “You’ve Got Mail”, Cafe Lalo. Cute and totally yummy, but crazy-crowded.

Good times all around, and man, did we sleep well that night…

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Prayers for NYC…

First off, sorry for not writing for a while. We’re home now, and the last few days of travel and readjusting to life at home have been C-R-A-Z-Y. I think the only thing I hate more than packing for a long trip is unpacking afterwards. I just keep making little piles of stuff: Greta’s room, bathroom stuff, souvenirs, my stuff, oy…I swear, it takes forever.

Anyway, just read that they are evacuating Coney Island and other beach front areas and actually closing the subways in New York City in preparation for Hurricane Irene hitting land soon. Closing the freaking subways? Insanity! Wow…

I know there’s not much we can do from here but send good vibes and prayers and such, so, that’s what I’m doing. It’s gonna be a rough couple of days, but, stay strong, NYC. If anybody can show a measly hurricane who’s the boss, it’s you.

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New digs and a dog too!

Moved from our hotel to the upper west side apartment of our good friend’s Justin & Nadine on Wednesday night. Their place is very cute and super small, but it has tons of windows, is one block away from a major subway line and Central Park, and best if all, they have a sweet, gigantic dog named Kismet.

I’m not sure what breed Kismet is, but, Greta is already wildly in love with her. The only problem is that she thinks poor old Kismet (she’s nine human years old) is a boy. Greta keeps saying: “Good boy, Kismet! Good boy!” Our friend Justin tried correcting her a few times, but then totally gave up. Boy, girl, who cares…as long as the kid ain’t crying everyone’s happy.

And speaking of Greta being happy…she’s still getting wiggy around the dinner hour, but she has been going to bed much earlier since we moved and it seems to be helping her tantrums. A little. I wouldn’t say she’s been the best toddler in the city this trip, but, she’s trying.

Amazingly, we’ve also all been sleeping way better sleep since we left the hotel. I don’t know if it’s the quieter neighborhood — the upper west side is like the country compared to Times Square — or what, but the three of us are sleeping way better on a shared Aerobed than we ever did in a fancy, King-sized bed at The Paramount. Go figure…

Oh, and one more thing that makes us all sleep way better are our nightly walks in Central Park with Justin and Kismet. Dogs can go leash-less after dark in the park, so Kismet just takes off running with a barefoot Greta in hot pursuit. It’s the cutest thing ever, but more importantly, it puts both of them, baby and dog, right to sleep when we come home. Yay!

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Coney Island Meltdown

OK, I know that many of you are gonna blame what I am about to describe on Greta’s lack of normal sleep the past few days, and you might be right, but I am laying the blame squarely in the terrible twos category. That said, let me tell ya what happened.

It was day two of our adventures in NYC, Greta and I got our usual late start, grabbed some breakfast and then hopped on the subway’s N line to the last stop, Coney Island! Mrs. Yeti didn’t have any real interest in coming with us — and, I’ll admit it, the hour-long train ride there is no picnic — so, we planned this adventure for a day when she was working.

And what an adventure it was, chili dogs and fresh lemonade at the first Nathan’s Hot Dog stand in the country, cotton candy, kiddie rides for $3.00 a pop, and all the beautiful, old-school boardwalk and beach you could stomach. It was awesome! Yeah, some of the neon is definitely faded and the place is a little sketchy in spots, but, the people working there were great and we had a blast. Until the sun started going down…

I dunno what happened to her, but, after one final ride on the merry-go-round, Greta went, I believe the clinical term for it is, ape-shit crazy. She started screaming that she wanted to ride more rides (which was literally impossible since I had no more cash on me) and then ran off in the direction of the Bumble Bee ride, which was her favorite.

I picked her up, she hit me. I threw her over my shoulder to carry her, she kicked me. It was crazy, but, it was getting dark and I knew we had a long-ass train ride back to the city, so, I needed her to behave. Of course, that’s what made her more determined than ever not to!

So, we start heading to the subway station, her screaming bloody murder, me trying to stuff her into her stroller and all of our crap toppling over every time she kicks herself free of it. And for the next five or ten minutes on that boardwalk, I was “that Dad” and she was “that toddler”, duking it out like a couple of wild, red-faced hillbillies.

I swear to God, EVERYONE within listening distance stopped to watch the bad dad trying to get his hell child to bend to his will and obey him. At one point, I literally did not know what to do. She had knocked my hat and sunglasses off, the stroller was laying on it’s side and she was kicking and screaming so wildly that I almost couldn’t hold her. I’ve been at “this job” for two-plus-years now, and trust me, I’ve never seen a meltdown like this…it was brutal.

I tried reasoning with her, I tried spanking her, I tried changing the subject — you know, talking about the good times we’d had that day, her favorite movies, how nice our male maid was at the hotel, anything — but, nothing worked. And then, I spotted a “Dunkin’ Donuts” across the street and in a desperate, last-ditch effort to change the subject, I found a subject we could both agree on. “Hey, you want a donut?” I panted as she flailed in my arms.

Suddenly, she stopped cold and said, in a totally calm voice: “Yes, I want a donut.” And just like that, the tears and craziness melted away. She sat down in her stroller (even buckling herself in) and we crossed the street and got a donut for her and a big-ass iced coffee with extra Valium for me.

Whew…what a day…

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Hotel living…

Sorry for not blogging more, we have been doing and seeing so much here that there has literally not been one moment of downtime. I’m not kidding, I can’t even start start writing a postcard without falling asleep these days…I’m just too beat.

Which brings us to the subject of hotel living. When Mrs. Yeti is working, we always stay at the super cool Paramount Hotel in the theatre district. They have a crazy-attentive staff, very clean and very chic rooms, and the grooviest lobby you ever saw. Seriously, I thought I walked into the bar by accident the first time we arrived. Crazy!

So, the one thing I hate about hotels is how early they clean the rooms. I can’t tell you how many times my sleeping late has left me with an uncleaned room for the day…urgh. And, I know noon is not early by most people’s standards, but, when you’re eating dinner at 3:00AM, it kinda is…

So, our first day there, Greta and I were beat, and so dead to the world that I almost missed the ringing of the hotel phone on my nightstand. You’ll never believe who was calling. Yep, the maid! He said he was calling to see when I was going to wake up so they could clean my room! Huh?! Does that “Do Not Disturb” placard on the door mean nothing to you, sir?

So, I did what any self-respecting SAHD would do…I totally blamed the baby. “Man, she just will not get up this morning. Poor little jet-lagged thing!” then I threw on some clothes, put on my best “I’ve been awake for hours” look and invited the maid in to clean up around us. And guess what? He did it! Two days in a row! Best. Hotel maid service. Ever. He practically changed the sheets with us still in them, the dude was amazing.

In fact, the second day he didn’t even call. He just knocked on the door (again ignoring my “Do Not Disturb” placard!) and then said in a funny voice: “Yoo hoo, is me again! Yo friend from yesterday!” Hilarious! I didn’t even check the peephole to make sure it was him.

And best of all, he loved Greta. He kept talking to her while he cleaned, making her laugh, asking her what movie she was watching today…it was very sweet.

And then, it ended. Our last night there Greta and I had an “incident” during bathtime that spilled buckets of water everywhere…including onto the carpeted area near our bed. Housekeeping came to the rescue with dozens of towels and plastic bags and such, but, let’s just say they were not amused.

So, our last morning there I got another call from the housekeeping staff exactly ten minutes before check out. This time, it was not “my friend” on the line: “You leavin’ on time today?!” the woman asked in a voice that told me the glory days of late clean-up were definitely over. I don’t remember what I told her, but you can bet your ass we outta there at noon.

Ah, well…it was fun while it lasted.

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Dinner at 3:00AM?

Continuing where we left off last time, we were finally on the ground at JFK, three hours later than expected, but we were there and Greta was awesome on the plane, so, yay! We pick up our dripping wet luggage — must have really been coming down when they unloaded it, but, blech! — roll on out to the curb to get in line for a taxi into the city and BLAM…we run straight into the longest line of people I’ve ever seen outside of a prime summer day at Disneyland.

It was hot, humid, late as fuck (excuse my French, but, it was like, 12:30AM when we got in line!) and this line was just not moving. Everyone was tired and ready to just call it a day and sleep at the airport when the most amazing thing happened. This young kid and his parents totally cut in line!

I’m not talking like, cutting off two or three people either, he literally pushed his way into the line at the halfway point while his parents hurried to the curb to catch the cab he was sure to score any minute. It was total insanity! And, lemme tell ya, it charged up that crowd like nobody’s business.

The crazy-tan Jersey Grandma with the cigarette noticed them first: “Oh…no, what is he do-win?” Then the young-hippies-in-love in front of us chimed in: “That…that’s so not cool…look at him!” Then, the spirit of New Yawk lept into me and I yelled out at the kid across the sweaty masses: “COME ON!!” It was hilarious, and a total New York moment and the next thing you know, everyone is line is cracking up at the balls this kid must have to do such a thing. “No shame, I tell you, that kid has no shame!” “Yeah, but, you gotta give him credit, I mean, hello, it worked!” “Urgh, if I had the balls to do that I’d be home by now…”

OMG, it was hysterical and in that instant, Mrs. Yeti and I remembered why we love this place so damn much. The people. We’ve traveled a lot and nobody can keep it as hilariously real as a fucking New Yorker. Seriously, they are the best!

So, an hour later (yep, we waited in that line for an hour!) we get in our cab and head on into the city. By the time we checked in at our hotel and unloaded our crap, it was almost 3:00AM. Mommy was too tired to eat, but, Greta and I were starving, so, she hopped into her stroller and we walked two blocks down to 9th and 46th street to eat at the 24-hour Galaxy Diner.

Every door and window of this joint — located at the edge of the Theatre District in Hell’s Kitchen — was opened, people and traffic were moving by in the rain outside like it was midday, and Greta and were eating a bagel with cream cheese and a Corned Beef Ruben at 3:00AM. Perfection!

I’m sorry, but, you just gotta love a city where no one even looks up when a sweaty fat man pushes a stroller, with a wide-awake toddler in it, past them at that hour. Record rainfall and epic flight delays or not, it really is good to be back in good, old NYC…

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A slight delay…

OK, so, aside from an awesome detour to sample the wares at the legendary Grilled Cheese Truck, we spent all of Saturday packing for our trip to NYC.

And as anyone who has a toddler knows, we travel pretty damn heavy these days. Carseat, stroller, two backpacks, two carry-on bags, two checked bags and Greta’s cute little backpack full of stuffed animals. And I thought we traveled heavy before she came along! Yikes…

Anyway, got all that shit together, hopped in a taxi to the airport Sunday morning — got there on time even! — only to be told by the dude at curbside check-in that our flight had a “slight” three hour delay because of thunderstorms in New York. Grrr…who calls three hours “slight”?! Total suckage!

Surprisingly though, the time sailed by thanks to one glorious invention — and a last-minute addition to our luggage — our amazing, portable DVD player! That thing kept Greta smiling and happy the whole time, and when we finally did get on the plane, she fell into a deep, restful sleep. It was so damn awesome…

She also stayed in her carseat the whole flight and didn’t cry once — which was even more awesome! — so, i just gotta say…if anyone out there ever doubts the value of technology in the toddler years…DON’T! Technology is a parents best friend, amigos, especially when traveling.

All hail, the portable DVD player. Oooo, and those little TV’s in the seats on Jet Blue didn’t hurt either. I got to watch a really juicy  “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” marathon and the time just flew on by. So rad!

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