Friday, November 28, 2008

In Which I Try Something New

Hold your breath. I actually had a holiday off! Yes, you read that correctly. Nurse Kelly was nowhere near New York's big medical center. When I found out that I didn't have to work, I immediately phoned my family. Instead of my mother fussing over what my travel arrangements, she laid a shocker on me. She announced that her, my father, and my sister would be traveling to New York. My first thought was "Sweet!", my next thought was, "Holy Shit. HOWAMIGOINGTOCOOKATHANKSGIVINGDINNERINMYTINYTINYAPARTMENTKICHEN???? I think my mom sensed my apprehension because she quickly said, "and how about we go out to dinner? That would be lovely."

Shocked at my mothers suggestion, I agreed an quickly set out to find a reasonably priced Thanksgiving dinner. My search took about a week. Apparently, some people New Yorker's don't bat an eyelash at $109/per person prixe fix holiday dinners that do not include alcohol. I finally found a place with a varied menu costing only $55/per person for a three course meal. I made a 4:30pm dinner reservation, sat back, and then thought.....what am I going to do with my family all.day.long?

This issue continued to stress me out. Did I mention that my family was going to be staying in my apartment? Yes, my roommate was going home, but at $725 a night for a hotel, I was not about to kick my family out. My stress was exaggerated because preceding thanksgiving I worked 11 out of 15 days (uh, hunh not kidding).

Before I knew it, it was last Sunday and my mom was giving me all the details (sometimes I love having a mother who's as type A as me!) They would be arriving Wednesday afternoon, probably late because my sister was playing in the powder puff football game and they couldn't leave Boston until 11 and they were anticipating mucho traffic. My mom then suggested that we go see the balloons be blown up for the parade. So touristy, she and my dad both wanted to check out the Macy's Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning. We'd wing the rest of their visit. In my state of exhaustion, I just agreed and went about the week.

Before I knew it, it was Wednesday at 2pm and my family was buzzing my apartment. Wow! They made it in record time. I went down to help them bring in their stuff. My jaw almost hit the floor when they showed up: two jumbo suitcases, pillows, tools (I needed my dad's drill), gift bags, garment bags, etc. You would have though they were traveling overseas. I soon learned that one entire suitcase, plus one of the duffel bags was full of my sister’s clothes (oh to be 16). They came up and settled in. I must admit, I was having a mild anxiety attacked with their stuff everywhere, but I played it cool.

After catching up, we humored my mothered and headed off through the park to the west side to see the balloon inflation. Direction said to check them out between 77th-81st on Central Park West. Umm, so weren’t we surprised when we were looped up to 81st, across CPW to Columbus, across Columbus, down Columbus to 78th, back across Columbus, down to 77th only to realize that if we wanted to see the balloons we would essentially have to walk that same route AGAIN, except in the opposite direction on Central Park West. Oh the crowds! It was insane. Umm, at that point, we threw in the towel and decided to get something to eat. We were right at Isabella's so I tired to go in and check out the wait time. But I couldn’t get past the cop who told me the restaurant was booked until 10pm. And off we went down to 72nd so we could go back acorss the park. And we walked and walked and walked. My mom said a few times, “Kelly, where are we going? We are going in circles."

I really hadn't been paying attention, as we were talking all the way. Suddenly I noticed this LARGE, long building. And then I stopped, dead in my tracks, and laughed. We walked to the street corner "85th and 5th." Whoops. We had accidentally walked diagonally through the park up to 85th! At least we were back on the East Side!

Famished, we headed to a big Italian family style restaurant. We were seated promptly. We all needed a drink, so we ordered a pitcher of Sangria. Doesn't the waitress come back to the table, with our huge pitcher of yummy sangria, and say, "Four glasses, right?" My mom tried to prevent her jaw from hitting the floor. The waitress poured the four glasses and walked away. That's when Colleen, picked dup her glass and said, "Cheers!" She's sixteen! Not wanting to make a big deal my parents let her drink it, after all it was in a controlled environment, but it was just comical.

At this point it was time to order out food. Being the only vegetarian in my family, and this was a family style restaurant, I pretty much stayed out of the conversation and said all I wanted was some linguini and steamed broccoli. My family all agreed on chicken parmesan but for some reason my sister was putting up a fight over the veal. She lost the battle and my parents ordered a half size portion.

When the food came, there were lots of plates on the table. After some rearranging the veal parmesan ended up in front of my sister. I jokingly offered her some and she looked at me, dead serious and sad, "You know I don't like fish!"

My parents and I burst into laughter. My sister, the child prodigy seriously thought that veal was fish. After a good chuckle, we ate our meal and drank our sangria-all four of us.

It had been a long day, so we came home, put on our pajamas and lounged around. Sleeping arrangements were interesting. My sister and I slept on my roommates bed, my mom slept in my bed, my dad slept on the blow up aero bed. None of us slept well. It seemed like had just gone to bed when my dad pops his head in at 6:40 a.m. and announced that it was time to get up. We threw on clothes and headed off to the West Side to see the parade. We were at 72nd and CPW by 7:15 and the parade didn't begin until 9.

The streets were PACKED. People were pushing, shoving, yelling, moaning, and groaning. We ended up finding a spot behind a relatively open area, closed for CNN VIP's. We thought we hit the jackpot. Boy were we wrong. Turns out, this was also the spot to enter and exit the viewing stands for the porta-pottys. For the next two hours and all through the parade we were shoved, pushed, and untimely sandwiched in between two trash cans and six porta-pottys. We didn't even get to see Santa because they ushered us out of the area so they could clear the stands. We trekked home cold, but not defeated. Many of our friends texted us that they were looking for us on TV and asked us how the parade was live. We texted back to look for the porta-potty's and that the parade probably looked better in HDTV.

Walking home, we decided to stop and get breakfast and bring it back to my apartment. For most of the afternoon we lounged around. My sister napped and then we all showered and got ready for dinner. We decided to walk 30 blocks to the restaurant and worked up an appetite. Seated promptly, the meal was delicious from start to finish. We took a cab home. Then came what I dreaded most...a lull, with nothing to do.

We flipped back and forth on the television but nothing was appealing. It was only 6:45, but I put on my pajamas curled up on the couch and fell sound asleep. I woke up a few hours later and crawled into bed. The following morning I could smell fresh brewed coffee and freshly toasted bagels. I was quite impressed that my family finagled their way around my kitchen AND ventured outside to the bagel store. It was a bit comical when my dad opened the refrigerator to get cream for his coffee and all he saw was soymilk and opened up the sugar jar only to find splenda. Sorry dad. However, the best part of waking up was walking into my living room and seeing my little Christmas tree all decorated. It warmed my heart.

After my family showered, they packed up the car and left. I got a wee bit emotional but I know I’ll see them again in a month. Although this past Thanksgiving was different from any other holiday I've experienced, it was great to try something new.

1 comment:

Anjali said...

Sounds lovely! Glad you had a great time!