We spent our last couple of weeks in New York doing as much sightseeing as we possibly could, and I'll be telling you all about that starting this week. Of course, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, this required much more effort on our part than it should have, because the Hoboken PATH train station is still inoperative. That meant that every time we wanted to go into the city we had two options: 1) walk over a mile and a half to the next nearest train station, or 2) hope our timing worked out to take the rush hour ferry from Hoboken (offered only between 8:00-10:00 a.m. and 4:00-8:00 p.m.) for $10 roundtrip. Our timing almost never worked out for the ferry, so I guess you could say we got our exercise that week. But, we were devoted New York sightsee-ers, so it had to be done.
To add to all the craziness, I accepted some jury work during our last week and Ellie started teething. As for me, the work was much appreciated but the timing was obviously less than desirable. As for Ellie, let's just say she hasn't exactly been handling this growing teeth thing gracefully. The poor thing has been miserable. She decided to sprout her bottom two teeth at once and it has not been a fun time for anyone involved.
Poor Ellie is showing you where it hurts.
Is she not just the most dramatic little thing?
We also spent a lot of time packing, obviously. Poor Eric turned 30 years old with no fanfare, not even so much as a dinner out (not on his birthday proper, anyway, but we did have some final Grimaldi's with friends the following day, which was nice!). Instead, we packed from about 7:00 in the morning until 10:30 at night on his birthday. Happy birthday to Eric! We did, however, celebrate a bit the night before, after his last day of work. His firm threw him a going away party and gifted him an autographed David Price baseball, and then back at home we drank some champagne and reflected on both his 20s and his time at the firm ending on he same day. It's time for a fresh start.
Eric in his now-empty office for the last time!
But when we weren't sightseeing, or dealing with devil teeth, or working, we were creating this mound of boxes...
Ugh. This used to be our dining room.
We also made Achilles a bit nervous.
"Take me with you, guys? Please?"
Ellie amongst the boxes
Our stuff moved out into the hallway, ready for a trip down the elevator and onto the moving truck
Eric and Achilles hung out in the kitchen to stay out of the way, but Ellie and I got clear out of town and went into the city for some shopping at Bryant Park and a visit to my old office.
Sweet girl out on the town
We returned to a very empty apartment.
Well that's just sad.
Eric had already made a little temporary "home" for us, including a "living room" of terribly uncomfortable folding chairs and a stepstool coffee table, and a bedroom outfitted with Ellie's Pack 'N Play, and a bed for us made of old memory foam and cheap blankets. Luxury!
The kids were excited to have lots of room to move, at least, and Ellie immediately took to chasing Achilles around the living room.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Wednesday, December 5th was officially Leaving Day, and it was a whirlwind. We had a lot of trouble returning our cable box, which kept poor Eric occupied most of the morning while I finished up packing everything we would be flying home with us. Then I took the kids for a nice long walk around Hoboken, in the hopes of getting Ellie an extra nap in the carrier and tiring out Achilles before our flight. (For the record, Ellie did nap and Achilles just does not tire.) We walked our usual loop around the waterfront, up through the Stevens Campus to Castle Point, down and over to Washington Street and back to our apartment. It was a nice way to say goodbye to Hoboken and that beautiful city across the river.
Farewell, you beautiful skyline
Meanwhile, Eric did the move-out walk-through with maintenance, brought down our luggage and loaded it into the car service van that we took to the airport.
We travel light, right?
We got to the airport and through security really with no troubles at all, which was quite a feat considering we had to check three bags and a car seat, then get through security with three laptops in tow, a baby and a dog. But we did it and even had a few minutes to grab a quick lunch at our gate and enjoy our very last New York Celebrity Sighting: Gilbert Gottfried was on our flight! What a way to end it all, am I right?
The flight itself was...well, it could have been worse, although Jason Segel's "THIS IS MY NIGHTMARE!" line from I Love You, Man kept running through my head on repeat. Ellie started off the flight fine:
She's excited to get to Florida!
But at the end of the day, a flight with a teething, overtired, squirmy baby is just not going to be a good time. I nursed her a lot just because every so often she would lose her mind and that was the only way to calm her. Well, that and Puffs. The girl loves her some Puffs. We ate Puffs for like an hour and a half straight.
This is me praying she'll fall asleep like this for a bit. Spoiler alert: she won't. Don't be crazy.
Checking out the clouds
We were lucky that nobody had booked the middle seat in our row, so we had all three seats to spread out. Thank goodness, because Ellie spent an awful lot of time climbing back and forth between us in that empty seat. Had we been crammed into two seats, it would have been that much worse.
As for Achilles, well, he didn't bark for the entire three hours, so by comparison to past flights with him, it was a success. He did whine for most of it though, sometimes louder than others, and there was some occasional barking. Suffice it to say, our neighbors were not our biggest fans.
Ellie laughing at Achilles on the plane
But we made it, and so did all of our luggage. My dad picked us up at the airport and brought us back to his house, our new home for the next few months, and Ellie promptly crashed. Well, until we actually put her in bed. And then she screamed. And then got up and played. And then she crashed again.
Plumb tuckered out
Since our arrival in the Sunshine State, we've been quite busy. We have been working on getting driver licenses and car registration squared away (we got a car from my grandma). I've been working. Eric has started working. We've been visiting friends and family as much as we can manage.
And, we've just been trying to adjust. It's strange being back. I knew the weather would be warmer here, but I wasn't prepared for it to be as warm as it is. We're getting used to driving everywhere again. We went to the grocery store and were so shocked and the comparatively low prices (to NYC) that we bought pretty much everything. It has all been a bit weird.
The weirdest part, though, are those moments when we remember that we're not going back. Because our belongings haven't arrived yet (hopefully they'll be here by Saturday), it still just feels like we're visiting. And when we actually left, there was so much craziness going on with juggling all our luggage, and handling the baby and the dog, that we really couldn't even take a second to reflect on the fact that we were really leaving. In a way that was good, because I would have just been too sad if I had been able to really be present in the moment and dwelling on what was happening as that plane took off. But now, every now and then, it will hit me. A silly example: we bought ice cream at the grocery store. I thought, "oh, we should be sure to hurry up and finish the ice cream before we go back home." And then I remembered, nope, this is home now. It's not just vacation. While it is so nice to be back with our families, I still just can't really let myself think about that too much or else I get pretty bummed. I know that will fade in time but for now, it's just too fresh.
So, we'll just keep focusing on settling in and getting adjusted. Ellie loves having a big house to crawl around and explore, and Achilles is beside himself with all the squirrels to chase in the big back yard. When our stuff arrives, hopefully having our own furniture will help us feel a bit more settled, and once the holidays pass we should be able to get into a good routine. The next few weeks will continue to be crazy, but I'm sure we'll get there.
In the meantime, I'll be sharing all the fun of our last weeks in New York with you. We really lived it up the best we could in our final days and we loved every second of it. I can't wait to tell you all about it!