only in my dreams

sandman05Today we’re having a vet come to the house to microchip our two cats. It’s a good thing to do, but not one that gives me as much comfort as it should. I’m terrified of them getting outside in the first place, which is part of why we’re using a housecall vet. Fred joins me in this terror: ever since the move he’s been leery of windows, even. George, on the other hand, is a fledgling escape artist.

Last night I dreamed that both cats had gotten lost. The part where they were missing was actually very short. I found them and was holding them clutched to me (a feat only possible in dreams, as that’s about 30 pounds of cat, and Fred squirms a lot when you pick him up). They were clinging to me tightly, but I didn’t know how to get them to safety. I didn’t have a car, or a phone, or anything. I couldn’t find the person I’d arrived there with. I walked a long, long way to where I thought they were, but they still weren’t there. I decided to walk back as I’d come and just hope for the best — hope I saw someone I knew, someone who could help. About ten steps later, I saw my mother. She was walking toward me and had on a white top with little flowers and a blue hem, a shirt I’d forgotten about until today but one she wore often. I told her what was going on and she said yes, she had a car. In a dream-flash we were there. I put the cats safely in the car and felt a great wash of relief. We were parked outside of the place she liked to get ice cream and, burden resolved, we decided to go inside for something to eat. And that was it.

I’m not a trained psychologist but it doesn’t take one to understand what that was about. Sometimes, I want my mother. My mother was a champion fixer-of-problems, her kids’ problems most of all. When there was a crisis, she didn’t get panicked. She didn’t freak out. Car accident, failed class, computer broken, bad situation as work, whatever. She just helped you fix it, and that was that, and you didn’t have to worry anymore. And I miss that. I miss it. Does anyone ever stop missing that?

Sometimes dreams are weird and stupid and scary. Sometimes they’re silly. Sometimes they’re obvious. Mine tend towards the latter. Not scary, exactly, but an obvious manifestation of my fears. So in the meantime, then, kitties stay home whenever possible, and that means Fred’s personal physician comes to him.

far above cayuga’s waters

I was in Ithaca for my 20th college reunion this past weekend, but only accidentally. We had already planned a trip to our favorite B&B in the Finger Lakes when I realized we’d be in the area at the same time as Cornell’s Reunion Weekend.  I didn’t officially attend, having too many other plans and things we wanted to do, but since we were there we drove through campus (well, where we could — there were roads closed for construction, which is always true), had lunch in Collegetown, and visited the dorm.

Katie and Streaker in close proximity.

Katie and Streaker in rare close proximity.

Risley was hosting the Class of 2004, so we were able to slip inside and, unabashedly, sneak past the now-keycard-entry-only upper floors. I wanted to show Dave the place I’d been talking about for so long, the first floor, Cowcliffes, the CLR (um, where’s the Persian rug that was in the CLR?!), Dining. I wished we could see Risley Theatre, but it was locked up tight, of course, as was Tammany. So we went down 2nd Lost where I’d once lived and visited Karin’s amazing Muppet murals for the first time in years.

That's me with Superman on my shoulder. It's a long story.

That’s me with Superman on my shoulder. It’s a long story.

Then we swung by the 2ndfloor mural of Fall of 1990 residents and I remembered far fewer names than the last time I’d been there. Lastly, we headed to my last and favorite old home at Risley, 352, up on the 3rd floor where Streaker and Katie once roamed, where fondue parties were held, where Darielle used to fall asleep in the shower, and where Paula and I searched for lost catnip mousies.

It’s fun to peek in the old stomping grounds every once in a grand while, but I try not to get too nostalgic about it. Those were some great years, but mostly because of the people I shared them with. The people and I have moved on elsewhere, and the building belongs to two decades’ worth of others who’ve come after me now (as well as those who came before). I hope they enjoyed living there as much as I did.

our nation’s capital

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We’d been told it was too late for cherry blossoms, but there were lots of trees still in bloom.

For my birthday this year, my very nice husband took me to Washington, D.C. I’d never been there. Somehow I missed the 8th grade trip that every kid apparently takes (and, given that I attended three different schools in that year, it’s not all that surprising). It’s only about a five hour drive away from us here and we had a great time.

IMG_2144We stayed at a nice if quirky hotel, The Churchill. It’s up near Dupont Circle and our room was very nice. I picked it for its quirkiness — sometimes I get zoned out by corporate chain hotels — so I can’t complain too much about the air conditioning that blew hot air or the long narrow bathroom that felt like a maze. Our window opened wide to a fresh cool breeze and the water pressure was good. It worked out fine.

The Churchill was also right across the street from the Washington Hilton where we would pick up our Big Bus tour each day. It also just happened to be where Reagan was shot in 1981. Dave looked up the footage on YouTube and found the exact spot the Secret Service pinned Hinkley up against a wall, which was cool if you’re history dorks like us.

IMG_2148The Big Bus tour is a double-decker bus tour with numerous loops that will take you around the city. We’ve taken similar tours in New York and Boston and we’re big fans. I can’t do as much walking as I’d like to but this way, we get around to everything we want. You can get off at any stop or you can just view sites from the bus (which I cannot enough stress the beauty of in Manhattan, especially — you get to stay off the streets, away from the dirt, away from annoying people, and often have a better view above all the traffic). If the weather’s nice (which it gloriously was, this trip) you get to enjoy riding around outside all day. We had a two-day pass for DC and covered the whole city, all the memorials, Arlington, the National Cathedral, lots of Georgetown, the White House, the Capitol Building, and so on.

IMG_2103We spent most of our time off the bus at the Lincoln Memorial; that’s the one I most wanted to see. It was a lot of walking but worth it. It really is something, standing in that beautiful building and looking at that incredibly detailed and downright lifelike sculpture. There are crowds of people there all the time, but the throng is always in motion and you can walk right up to Lincoln and say hello. (He doesn’t respond, but it’s still nice to be friendly.) And as you leave and walk back down the steps you have the grand view of the National Mall before you. I felt a little like Forrest Gump, but Jenny or no Jenny, nothing in the world would have induced me to run into that murky water.

The first night we ate at a place called 1789, a small upscale restaurant with the snootiest of French waiters. I asked for the horseradish sauce (offered in the menu!) for my steak and he sniffed and said, with a disapproving shrug of his shoulders, “If you like.” He was so disdainful, it was actually kind of fun. We had a more congenial dinner at an Italian bistro on the second night, and we also had lunch at Good Stuff Eatery, a burger place owned by Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef. I got the Prez Obama Burger; it was yummy. The milkshakes are good, too.

"Jenny, I'm glad we were here together in our nation's capital."

“Jenny, I’m glad we were here together in our nation’s capital.”

What we didn’t do: we didn’t visit any museums. On one hand we sort of wanted to, especially the National Air and Space Museum, the Newseum, and the National Archives. Those would have been amazing, but it was just too nice out — the weather was so gorgeous, and after the long cold winter, we just couldn’t bear to give it up to spend the days inside. I mean, just looking at the line at the National Archives (to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, I assume) was a big deterrent — we could’ve spent the entire day just standing in that. There are amazing treasures in the museums of DC, I know, but maybe that’s a focus for another trip. For this one, we just enjoyed the city.

All in all, it was a great birthday present and a fun trip. Visit over, the drive home was quick and included a stop at Wegmans. Who could ask for anything more?

movin’ on up

wheelmudSo, we’re here. On Long Island, and home. As I write this, Dave is finishing up one of our last tasks, hooking up the TV in the living room, and with that, we’ll have everything almost set. Not too bad, right? Less than two weeks later and we’re done with the move and everything. Did it all go off without a hitch? Not exactly, but in the end it all worked out.

The morning after our wedding, tired and headachy from a hotel room with the worst ventilation ever, we said goodbye to a lot of people: out of town guests traveling back home, friends hitting the road, people from home I would be leaving in a few days. And I did not handle it well. The excitement of the wedding, I think, kept me from thinking too hard about the fact that I was moving away from everything I know. There were a lot of tears.

Also a lot of manual labor. There was still some packing and cleaning to do, and on Monday, a giant U-Haul truck to load. That eventually went really smoothly, but not before we drove it back from the rental site, pulled up to the house… and promptly got really stuck in the mud. And when you get an enormous 26′ moving truck stuck in the mud, even a little, there’s really no simple rock-back-and-forth solution. The more you try that, the worse it gets. You’re stuck. I mean, we had a trained archaeologist on hand, and even she couldn’t dig us out (thanks for trying, though, Jen!). But an hour or so of panic, a tow from a slightly smaller U-Haul truck later, and we were back in business. Everything got loaded up and the guys hit the road, and Dave and I spent one last night in an empty house, said goodbye to some good friends, and got up Tuesday morning and left, kitties in their carriers, car loaded to the gills.

IMG_1805It wasn’t that bad of a drive. The cats didn’t like it, and didn’t eat or use their litter box, or drink anything other than a few drops of milk, but they were calm the whole ride. And we made decent time, and kept each other company. It was okay. We arrived home in Smithtown in one piece, home to a house already full of furniture and boxes, thanks to our amazing family and friends who’d unloaded the truck, and a nice welcome home surprise from my new mother-in-law.

IMG_1818The days since have been busy. We’ve taken some breaks here and there, but I think we both felt the sooner we could get rid of the boxes and get everything set up, the better. We went room by room and got it all done, including moving in The Couch That Almost Wasn’t — if it wasn’t for a terrific new neighbor, that couch would either still be stuck in the hallway, or gone in sawed-apart pieces.

The cats in particular have calmed down a lot now that the boxes are gone. I strongly suspect they don’t know the difference between packing and unpacking, and this has just been a continuation of the disarray their life has been for a month. Georgie is very okay now, exploring and playing all the time. He’s a little too excited and won’t settle down to snuggle, but he will eventually. Freddie has taken a little more time. Spatial relations have never been his strong suit, and there have been times he’s forgotten how to find his water bowl, or even me. But he loves his fireplace, just like I knew he would.

And me? I’m okay. I’m happy, of course. I waited for this day to come for a long time. I love our new home, and I love Dave, and everything is good. But if I’m telling the truth, I’m a lot more homesick than I thought I’d be. I miss everyone. I miss everything. I keep picturing my room in my house, my yard, my driveway. My ride to work. My neighborhood, my stores, my familiar places. It’s not anything against here, but I find myself wishing I could just do the aisles at the NF Boulevard Wegmans, go to bingo, and then come back home here again. And I wish I could do that whenever, and not once in a long while. I love the changes I made, and I love it here, but I miss the things and the people I had to leave behind, maybe a little more than I’d planned on.

temporary vehicular disenchantment

I’m not a car person. I don’t spend much time looking at nice cars, or even knowing the difference between them. Maybe I notice the color of a car, but that’s about it. I’ve driven an SUV, and it didn’t do much for me. Dave’s convertible is very nice, I admit, but in general the whole car thing is low on my radar. I don’t even like to drive. If my only car was a limo, I’d be content. Alas, I’m still waiting for that day.

IMG_0344Having said that, I bought my car in 2009, a Nissan Versa, and I’ve been very fond of it. I love the color, which is a lovely bright Superman blue. I love the hatchback, which I find very convenient — great for shopping. I made sure it had a jack for my iPhone, and that was all I really cared about stereo-wise. It was incredibly affordable, too — downright cheap, as far as new cars go. A win all around.

Except this week, it needed about $1,000 in repairs, and I find I’m a little annoyed. Let’s just say that as a result, I’m not feeling the love as much.

I mean, Supes, didn’t we have a deal? I would say nice things about you, and on average I’d only put a mere 7,500 miles or so a year on you. Not demanding at all. In return, you would go from point A to point B without, you know, breaking down. That’s my only real request from you, as a vehicle. But starting last Friday, you haven’t been holding up your end of the deal. First, muffler. Honestly, did it have to be something so embarrassingly noisy? For a day I was that car that, when you’re at a stoplight and you think, “Wow that’s a loud noise, is it me? No, it’s that poor guy over there, good”, well, I’m that guy. Then for inspection, you needed tires and brakes. Come on, now. Greedy, much? It’s not like I worked you especially hard, took you on long trips or taxed your resources. The occasional jaunt to Canada does not count as above and beyond the call of duty, even if it is another country. You like Canadia, anyhow.

Well, what’s done is done. You’re fixed and back home and we can just put this behind us. Just, you know, don’t press your luck and ask for anything, any time soon. Not even wiper fluid. Just lay low and give it a little time, please. It’s temporary, I promise.