There are some days off from school that our just days off: the kids sleep late, they watch too much TV, I clean or bake something, Playmobil worlds are constructed and destroyed on land and in water. Then there are days off, like today's in honor of Columbus Day, that are like mini-family vacations. Back in the day when I worked at Parents.com, Dennis Roddy, columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, described family vacations as days spent "driving down the highway throwing twenty dollar bills out the window." Substitute riding the subway, take away the husband (who didn't have the day off), and you've got my day.
It didn't start out that way. I managed to get out the door with lunches packed, water bottles filled, extra snacks stowed. I even had a toy or two in my Mary Poppin tote. Then Elliot ate his lunch on the subway ride down to the Intrepid. Then I decided to join the Intrepid. After the Intrepid, we decided to go on a pedi-cab ride around Central Park. This is where things got hairy. I mean, paying for a pedi-cab ride when you actually live in New York City and aren't interested in trotting out to Strawberry Field or taking a picture by Bethesda Fountain, well, it's kind of a shocking thing to do, shocking not only because the pedi-cab ride has a steep price tag, but also because you kind of become a tourist when you're riding in the back of an overgrown tricycle pedaled by a nice young man from Russia. The park itself was a completely different place than the one I've known for the past twenty years. The pedi-cabs weren't simply large vehicles around which we had to maneuver but a confederation of riders united against the horse-drawn carriages. The carriages, meanwhile, seemed hell bent on pushing the pedi-cabs out of the way, no matter the size of its passengers. A woman on a horse drawn carriage gave me a look a terror and upset as her carriage driver tried to elbow our pedi-cab with its small children out of the way. But it wasn't only fear in her eyes, it was a search for solidarity, a desire to confirm what her face said: "Do you believe what happens here in New York City!"
Anyway, after the pedi-cab ride, which, in spite of the carriages, was pretty fun on the down hills, there was more -- snack at Whole Foods, a trip to Sephora during which Elliot picked up pots of eye shadow and smeared them on his eyelids (it was raucous), and finally the long trip home. Then, our mini-vacation was done and all that was left was dinner and recovery. I'm so excited for school!