Saturday, February 26, 2011

Vacation Part II. NY & NJ.

There are many wonderful things about living in Bermuda. You want nice beaches. We got 'em. You want sunshine? Yep, can do. You want decent pizza? Bwah ha ha!!!

How 'bout a slice of chewy, half-baked dough, shaped in a wedge and covered in sugared tomato sauce? There may be some shredded cheese substitute if you're really lucky.

It's pathetic, but all I wanted when we hit stateside was pizza. (and Target ... and world peace). After five days with Grandma, we packed our bags and headed to New Jersey. There, we camped out for two nights to take Jordan to his biopsy at Columbia, visit friends, meet with our realtor to discuss our house, do errands, etc.

And eat pizza.

Our favorite Leonian and fellow mother -in- arms, "Miss Nataliya" graciously welcomed us into her home and ordered from the kid's favorite - Donna's Pizza. I ate three slices. Without breathing. My kids may or may not have eaten. I don't recall. I was too busy swooning. Five months without a decent slice will do that to ya. Of course, the irony is that when we lived in NJ, I wasn't the biggest pizza eater. I could take it or leave it. My vices were more chocolate related. But now that the possibility of decent pizza no longer exists for me; I crave it constantly. There's something to be said about this as far as dieting mentality goes, methinks.

The second food item I was dying for was decent sushi. It's not that Bermuda doesn't have it - there are sushi places. I've heard there are some good ones, actually. But factoring in the cost of paying for a babysitter so I can go out and eat Bermuda sushi, and the actual cost of each particular piece of sushi, and the amount of sushi I like to consume... well, it's cheaper to do it in Manhattan. Which we did.

Lucky the Brooklyn gang was willing to come out and humor me. Big thanks to Gina for setting this up. Big thanks to the staff at the restaurant for not throwing us out after Jeff's behavior. I swear, I thought I left the kids with the babysitter. Apparently not.

Jordan's biopsy was Friday morning. - really early Friday morning. Once again, Miss Nataliya stepped in to babysit Mina so we could take Jordan to the hospital and focus on his care that day. Needless to say, Mina was thrilled to spend the day with her friends, visit her old school, and go arts-and-crafts crazy!

The biopsy went well. Luckily, Jordan was the first patient of the day. He had a little bit of trouble with the anesthesia mask, again. Putting it on and staying calm long enough to go under continues to be a challenge. But, I was really comforted by the head anesthesiologist who laid out a very sensible course to follow during the entire biopsy. Last time, Jordan had some "issues" while under that resulted in him being intubated. Some mucus or secretions built up while he was under and he went into "respiratory distress." This time, they had to decide whether to intubate him from the outset or proceed normally with just the mask. That's the less intrusive procedure. She went with that option. And her reasoning, as she explained it, struck me as remarkably calm and focused. I liked her.

Jordan came out of the biopsy quickly and went into recovery. Because it was only a single ventricle biopsy, he only had to lay in recovery for two extra hours, instead of four. He woke up after a bit; and unlike previous biopsies - he was not nauseous. His first words were a request for juice.

He stayed calm, did not bleed through the bandages, and we were out of there in record time! The results came in and he had zero rejection. That's the best news of all.

We celebrated that evening at an old favorite - Dante's.

We ate. Interesting things...

Oh boy, did we ever.

Can we just pause a minute and contrast the eating styles of my two children? By the forkful = Mina. One flipping strand at a time = Jordan.

After a soul-satisfying Italian meal, don't you want to run screaming for the nearest ice cream store? My kids do. Pasta, bread, butter, and ice cream. I haven't uttered those words in the same sentence in at least 15 years. But my kids can get away with it. For now.

That night, Jeff watched the kids while I enjoyed a night in with the girls. Yay, wine night! Or.. tea night... is how I started actually. The whole crew came out to Nataliya's and it felt like we picked up right where we left off. A good night of gossip, current events (kind of), school politics, book discussions, some wine, some cheese, some chocolate. Wow, I missed those.

By the way, one of the topics centered on the book, "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom," which I immediately went out and downloaded for my Kindle. Read it in two days. Like her or not, it was a fast-paced romp through her crazy, parenting years raising her Chinese-American-Jewish daughters in the traditional "Chinese way" I highly recommend it to all neurotic moms out there who either 1) want to feel better about themselves; or b) need a hefty inspiration for how to make their children do better in life. Or not. I'm not condoning how she raised her kids. I also think she expressed some half-hearted regrets herself if you read the latter half of the book carefully. But, I do think there might be some truth to some of the remarks she makes in her book.

Saturday morning arrived and we had a date with Continental. The kids are pros at going through security, putting their shoes, cuddlies and coats on the x-ray conveyor belt, and walking through the metal detectors. While we waited at our gate, we watched the two of them climb up the windows and watch the planes on the runway below. Suddenly, an announcement made us pause.

We had noticed the area was really crowded. Spring break had arrived and people were heading off to parts unknown. Way too many people, as it turned out. Continental had overbooked our flight and now it was time to pay. The nice lady at the counter started to play, "Let's Make a Deal." And we took it. We gave up our four seats and agreed to stay one more night so we could take the Sunday flight instead.

They provided us with two hotel rooms, a shuttle, dinner and breakfast vouchers, tickets for the next day plus four tickets for ANOTHER vacation to be used at our pleasure during the rest of the year. SCORE!!!!

I love a good deal.

We spent the afternoon in Manhattan watching a movie in Times Square and eating Mexican food at Chevy's with Grandma H and Michael.

I think the movie was good, but I passed out for the first half hour and slept blissfully.

I wasn't too worried because Jordan had a jumbo sized bag of popcorn; and I assumed Jeff was keeping an eye on them. We compared notes later, and he told me he was asleep for the first half too. Great minds think alike.

It was a pretty awesome vacation! We loved just about every minute of it. Hanging out with friends, great eating, great catching up, a successful biopsy and four airline tickets for the future (Tahoe family reunion in August!! Yes!!!) Ahhh... America...

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