Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New York City Surprise

I have never been to New York City...
Wait. Scratch that.
I had never been to New York City until last week.

It was fast-paced. It was dirty. It was crowded.

It was fabulous. It was hilarious. It was a blast.

Blake's mom, Mrs. Kathy, was celebrating her 60th birthday in New York City. Originally, it was planned that Mrs. Kathy, Blake's sister, Heather, and myself would take the celebratory trip. When Blake, the kids, and I moved to Australia, however, it put a damper on our plans, and I had to reluctantly* bow out.

*By "reluctantly" I mean that I cried ugly, disappointed tears when I discovered that there was no way that I would be able to make the trip.

The trip to NYC morphed over the past few months as more people jumped on the birthday bandwagon. Soon the crowd included Blake's aunt (Mrs. Kathy's sister-in-law), Judy, Blake's cousin (Mrs. Kathy's niece), Jeania, and Blake's "aunt" (Mrs. Kathy's good friend), Mary. The three would fly in from their respective cities to join Heather and Mrs. Kathy for the five day, four night adventure in The Big Apple. 

All the while, I sat in my apartment on the other side of the world hoping to live vicariously through the group via social media updates. 

Blake seized the moment to be the best son/husband/brother/father to ever exist by encouraging me to throw caution to the wind and purchase the last minute flight to New York City exactly one week before the trip would take place. 

I think he could see my increasing need for adult interaction that did not include him.
My last blog post (seen here) was a pretty good hint...

After booking the plane ticket and a room in a hotel as close as possible to where everyone else was going to be ... 
The hotel where Mrs. Kathy and the crew were staying was booked.
... I almost died with excitement and anticipation. 

Blake's dad, Mr. Rick, can confirm this with my early (early!) morning phone calls and my constant need for reassuring emails that Mrs. Kathy did not have any idea of this surprise turn of events.

A few days before the trip we decided to let Heather in on the secret as the group began making more detailed plans for the upcoming trip, and as I boarded the plane the day before Blake, Heather, Mr. Rick, and I were the only ones aware of my 20+ hours of flight to NYC. 

Not including my sister-in-law, sister, best friend, and grandmother...
I can't keep a secret.
You've all been warned.

I had a pretty relaxing flight from Melbourne to LA. However, when I reached the terminal I tensed immediately when I saw that my 8:55AM flight from LA to JFK was already delayed to leave at 10:35AM. I wasn't confident at all that I was going to make the dinner reservations at the restaurant where I was going to meet up with the group. Talk about disappointment. 

I took advantage of the delayed flight by taking a shower and grabbing a latte before sitting down to check in on the stocks and national news. 

Just kidding... I totally checked Facebook.

Just as I sat down with my coffee, an announcement came across asking everyone on my flight to report to the gate to board. We ended up leaving 40 minutes before expected... I just might make it as planned!

When the plane landed in New York I ran outside, hailed a cab, and jumped into the yellow car, offering its driver a $20 tip if he could get me to my hotel by 7:30PM. (Dinner reservations were at 8PM.) 
The driver pulled up outside of my hotel with two minutes to spare, and I happily handed over the bill and rushed inside to check in. I had just enough time to brush my teeth, throw on fresh clothes (Thank goodness that I had a chance to shower in LA!), and walk the three short blocks to the restaurant. 
When I arrived at Frankie and Johnnie's Steakhouse, I checked in with the hostess, telling her that I was there early to meet a group. I explained that they didn't know that I was coming and that I had just flown in from Australia. She sent me upstairs to the bar to remain unseen until everyone arrived. Once she had seated them, she would let me know that they were there. 

When I sat down at the bar upstairs my heart was pounding, my anxiety from rushing for the past few hours was not allowing me to settle in. How was I to solve that...?
The bartender was interested in my story and within the ten minutes of waiting for the others, everyone in the bar knew where I had come from, why I was there, and who I was waiting for. When the hostess appeared to announce that my group had arrived and was getting settled, I (along with the half dozen bar patrons) leaned around the corner before I walked out, a bit nervously, and released an enthusiastic "Happy Birthday!" at my mother-in-law. 

She peered at me dis-trustingly for a single moment before shouting with surprise.
Take a peek at the video below of Mrs. Kathy's reaction to my sudden appearance.

Posted by Heather Guild on Saturday, May 2, 2015

It was such a fun surprise, and I was so, so happy to be able to be a part of Mrs. Kathy's 60th birthday celebration!

I'll post more about the trip itself later.

Now that I've gotten myself all worked up with the excitement and anxiety of reliving that moment, you know what that means!?

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