Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Short Trip to the Big City

We had to make one of our periodic trips to Nashville last Friday. My daughter was out of school anyway, for Bristol's fall NASCAR race. (This is not as stupid as it sounds. When 120,000 people descend on a town of 40,000 people, traffic gets a little crazy, and some of the schools are near the track.) Also my son was leaving to go back to college--at the latest, on Saturday, but if the rest of us were going to Nashville on Friday anyhow, he'd leave Friday and spend a night in Knoxville visiting friends.

We miss him when he's not with us.

Nashville is about a five-hour drive from Bristol. It's possible for us to drive there, conduct our business, and drive back in one day, but it's dreadful. So my husband and I originally thought we'd fly to Nashville, then fly to Philadelphia where my daughter wants to look at some colleges, then fly home Sunday. That would have been a neat and useful plan except that none of the colleges' admissions offices were open Saturday, and none of the students would be back on campus. Wandering around empty locked buildings was not going to be very useful.

"Well," my husband said, "let's go to New York."

This seemed absolutely nuts. For starters, my daughter has been completely enmeshed in preparations for her first national pony club riding exam. She's been concentrating on her horse non-stop since mid-June. Ok, early June. But now we're very close to crunch time--shouldn't she put the entire weekend to use in the barn?

I've also lost control of several of the less meaningful aspects of my life, such as housework, the garden, pretty much the house and farm in general. I need to clean out my closet and the pantry and weed everything, and I have a list of people I need to call and some pony club stuff I need to do--and, oh yes, my editor just set a due date for draft #3 of the current novel. My husband is in a similar state: Sunday night he waved his hand at our bedroom, where we plan to get some furniture for a sort of empty nook, and also get curtains, and some new bedding now that the incontinent dog is dead--dead for a year now--and my husband said, "We are going to get our shit together, right?"

"Absolutely," I said.

But first we went to New York, and it was awesome. We got in late, late, and set an alarm pretty early so we could get up and shop at our favorite NYC store, Filene's Basement. Turns out Filene's closed in January 2012 (you can tell we don't shop in NY often). So instead we went to a place called Century 21, which was similiar--lots of medium to high-end clothes on discount. My daughter found a good dress and some jeans. I bought a pair of very classy yoga pants (trust me) and some shirts. I also had a field day with the real designer clothes. I love textiles. Most of the very-high-end stuff doesn't fit me, as apparently if you're a fancy designer you only want skinny people dropping big bucks on your clothing, but what the hey. I found a white silk taffeta skirt stiff with embroidery and beading on sale for only $1000 (no, of course not. Also it didn't fit. Also where would I ever wear something like that?). I tried on a really cool windbreaker--hard to describe, but honestly a windbreaker--that was discounted to $500. My husband agreed it was super cool. Then we laughed hysterically at the idea of my wearing a $500 windbreaker out to the barn, and put it back on the rack.

Lunch, more shopping. The fabulous farmer's market in Union Square. I love NYC farmer's markets. If I'd had more time I would have pumped for visiting Dean & DeLuca's or Books of Wonder, but instead we cleaned ourselves up, had a lovely dinner--an Italian restaurant just off Broadway, caprese salad, gnocchi and tiramisu--and went to see The Book of Mormon.

It wasn't my favorite musical ever--as my daughter said, they got to funny and kept going into not-as-funny--but it was so well done. I love tap dancing. I love listening to talented people sing.

Afterwards we had a drink at the revolving lounge on top of our hotel, and fell into bed, where we slept so late there wasn't much time on Sunday to do anything but eat a lovely brunch, take a small walk, and head for home. The funny part was how much good it did us all--particularly my daughter. Giving her something to think about besides her horse and her rating seems to have dropped her stress level a lot. It didn't do a thing to improve the mess about the house, the bedroom, the weeds--but hey, it also  didn't make those worse.

Win-win, I call it. Win-win