Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spring Break

So, the kids were off from school last week on spring break. We did the usual -- spent hundreds of dollars keeping them occupied because we weren't actually going AWAY on a vacation. There was bowling, eating out for lunch, shopping, eating out for dinner, going to the city--where we ate everything that didn't eat us first.

I thought it would be nice to take the kids to Central Park to row the boats. It was mid-week and kind of overcast. Not too hot for sitting in a man-made lake under the blazing sun, not too cold to be in a boat with a wind blowing. It was a perfect day for rowing.

We took my car because Mike's was getting serviced. No sooner were we in my car, and he starts with the complaints about how uncomfortable the seats are in my luxurious Ford Focus station wagon. I decided I would ignore this. After all, we were going row boating in Central Park. Mike never wanted to do it before -- because it was too hot, too crowded, not enough time, he'd rather choke on his own vomit, you name it. But on this day, in a weird, weak moment, he agreed to it. So I was happy. And I ignored his rant about how his back was going to be out "any second now."

We got to the city, and there was some traffic. Because it's NEW YORK CITY. Mike started complaining about how we should just go downtown and walk around the Village. Already, I could see his mind working to get out of the boat promise. We went to drive across Central Park to get to the Boat House, and there was a major line of traffic.

Mike: "This is great. We're not going to be able to get across this park."

Me: "At some point in our lives, probably within 15 minutes, we'll get across the park. Relax"

Mike: "I'm relaxed. I'm just saying, there's no way we should be in mid-town during the week. The traffic's a joke, there's not going to be anywhere to park. And who comes to New York to row a boat anyway?! You come to the city for the city, not to pretend you're in the country. ...And my back's killing me."

Me: "But you're relaxed."

We got across town, searched for a space for about 15 minutes, and just as I said, "Mike, you get your wish--let's just go downtown," we found a space.

The boating was actually great. Mike let Cara and I row around -- as his back was destroyed and apparently ready for traction because of the seats in my car. Ryan had fun looking at the fish that kept jumping around in the reeds. We spotted a big black bird that looked like it was in the egret family (I'm SO getting an honorary membership in the Audobon Society with that analysis).

It was a lot of fun and we saw a whole new view of the city.

Afterward, we dropped a stupid amount of money on a paltry amount of candy at Dylan's Candy Bar. Note: the Tropical Nerds Rope that you can get at Five Below stores for 60 cents goes for $2.50 at Dylan's. I mean, I know it's a tourist trap. But, seriously, come on.

Why this candy store is on the must-visit list with Cara and Ryan is anyone's guess. Yes, it has a wall of Jelly Belly jelly beans in every flavor known to humankind, a bank of M&Ms in every color imaginable, stools that look like spinning peppermint drops when you twirl them, and candy pieces embedded in the risers of the lit-up stairs. Plus, an entire section of sour candy. And every song coming from the speakers has to do with candy -- from "Candy-O" by the Cars to "I Want Candy" by Aaron Carter AND Bow Wow Wow.

Yeah, and this sugar deluge covers two levels under one roof. Fine, I get it. But why don't my kids recognize that I could get the same candy at places like I'd put "Good Ship Lollipop" on repeat-play on my computer while ordering. No? Not the same experience?

Well, after saying "no" about a thousand times to various candies (edible candy bubbles that you blow in the air and try to catch in your mouth--right), candy-related items (Littlest Pet Shop twirling lollipop holders?!), and non-candy items (T-shirts, Tootsie Roll pillows), I got them checked out.

But, keeping the Salfino spirit of "we need to complain about this day" alive, they decided to fight over who got to hold the bag once we got outside. I grabbed the signature blue plastic bag, went back in the store and considered smashing the cashier over the head with it. But then I recognized that the cops would NOT recognize that I was overreacting to a day filled with trying to convince everybody of what a good time we were having. So I just got a second bag. And pulled it over my head until I passed out.