Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Tennis Week 2018 - surviving the drought (part one)

Howdy!  Another Tennis Week with my mom has come and gone and we had a ton of fun, as usual.  I swear, sometimes we can just look at each other and start laughing about something without having to say what we're laughing at.  I just love her to pieces.  I will say that this year, Tennis Week DID have its challenges, but it was mostly a great time. As always, these posts will be a bit long because I just don't know how to self-edit...

A tiny bit of backstory: a few days before my mom was supposed to arrive, a notice was posted all over my building, saying that there would be construction and a new water main installed on my street, so the water would be turned off, every weekday, for two weeks.  Wait, WHAT?!?!  I wait for this vacation for an entire year and now there would be no water in my apartment?!?!  Ugh.  To say this put a crimp on some things is an understatement.  Sometimes I think the universe is trying to get me.  Though I am grateful that the weather was pleasant when my mom was here (if it had been as hot as it is this week, she and I would've been in a world of trouble, I think)...

Mom arrived on Sunday morning - we decided we'd go out to our favorite diner in Elmhurst and check out the mall.  I know, going to a mall during vacation is doofy, but that's what my family does now and then.  It's a midwest thing, I'm thinking.  We got off the subway and walked toward our diner and I started to feel dismay:  I could see that it was all boarded up and the sign seemed like it was missing something.  Like the sign.  We were really disappointed to see that the diner was closed up.  In my discombobulated state, I didn't read the sign on the front door.  I should have.  This will come into play later in the trip.  

We decided to go to the food court at the mall so Mom could get some Nathan's french fries.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that I won't be partaking of any of Nathan's products anymore, since the owner has come out as a big supporter of the awful man who lives in the White House.  I try not to impose my boycotts on anyone else, though, so off we went.  To my (concealed) delight, Nathan's is no longer in the food court!  Awkward situation resolved!  We got some Starbucks breakfast snacks instead.  While we were sitting, I was looking at my phone to see where the nearest Traders Joe's was.

Mom and I like several Trader Joe's snacks, so it's a tradition that we take them with us to the tennis.  Originally, I had in on my unofficial itinerary that we would go on Monday, when we would be in Manhattan, but I noticed on my phone that there was a Trader Joe's relatively nearby!  The map said it was about a 30-minute walk.  Mom thought that sounded reasonable (ha ha), so we decided to give it a try.  

We hadn't walked very far when we started to second-guess our decision.  After all, a 30-minute walk there meant a 30-minute walk back.  With bags.  It was a nice day, but it's a really congested area to try to walk in.  Luckily, my phone's GPS also had the bus route to get there and the bus was right across the street!  So Mom and I had a mini-adventure and took the express bus to Trader Joe's.

It's a nice store, but oh my gosh, it was crowded!  It was Sunday, after all.  We didn't do a lot of meandering in the store, we just sort of picked out the things we knew we wanted so we could get in the really long line.  I guess it wasn't very relaxing, but we did get some tasty snacks and I did discover a Trader Joe's in Queens.  When we came out of the store, though, it was raining.  So we stood under the awning and had fun watching the crazy people pulling in and out of that tiny, awkwardly-placed parking lot.  I told Mom we should do a podcast or something of our doing commentary, like a sporting event, of the people trying to park.  We got a giggle out of that.  The rain let up and we went back to the bus stop and made it home.

After sitting for a bit in my apartment, and watching a little bit of tennis in Cincinnati, we went back out to wander around my neighborhood.  We ended up at Ample Hills, a great ice cream place that has opened up a new shop near my apartment.  Yum.  I wish we could've gone there every day because I want to try all the flavors!  Mom got the peanut butter and I got the limoncello sorbet.  Delicious.  

Monday, we got up early so we could do all the things that girls need to do in the morning that require water.  I loathe getting up early when I'm on vacation, but so be it.  I had an appointment for us to go to the Downton Abbey exhibition at 11am, but since my water was being turned off at 8:30am, we left early and walked through Central Park beforehand.  It was nice and quiet in the park, though of course it started to rain again.  Sigh.  We wandered into the Plaza Hotel and their downstairs food court to escape the rain for a bit before walking over to Downton Abbey.

I've already told you about my birthday trip to the exhibition, so I won't go into details about it again.  I'll just say it was great to see it again - Mom loved it and I loved it again, especially since there were WAY fewer people than there were in March, so I could get much better photos and take my time reading the placards that are scattered around.  We were there for a couple of hours and it was grand.  I'm so glad we went.  After that, we were a little peckish (though not a lot; I was having stomach issues most of the week, which will come into play later in the week).  We stopped at a nearby grocery store and picked up some yogurt and fruit for Mom and a ginger tea for me, then walked back to the park to enjoy it.  Mom needed her Nathan's fries, though, since she didn't get them the day before, so I found a kiosk that sold them.  I just yelled at the owner in my head.

After we finished eating, we hopped onto the Fifth Avenue bus (Mom has discovered a love of a NY bus - you can see where you're going and you don't have to walk up and down subway stairs) and went to Chelsea.  I wanted to go to several shops around there, so we had a good time wandering around, popping into shops, buying a few fun things, then sitting in Madison Square Park for a bit.  We finally ended up in Union Square, wandered through the greenmarket, then went back to my apartment.  It was a day of lots of walking.  Our feet were tired!  Happily, by the time we got back to the apartment, the water had been turned back on for the night.  And it was Judy Garland day on Turner Classic Movies, which made us doubly glad to be back (and with water).  So ends part one of our trip report.  Tennis will be discussed in part two...

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