Another Patrick and Nana Adventure – What we are doing on our summer vacation
By the time you read this, my grandson Patrick (age 10) will have just realized his dream. And believe me, it is his dream … not mine. Anyone who covets vacation time as I do will realize that whatever can go wrong will go wrong when you plan one, and I have the sense that the stars were aligned on a different planet when we put this trip together.
Left to my own scheming, I had planned a trip to Ireland. It didn’t pan out for various reasons, including the fact that Patrick didn’t get his passport in time, since one consenting parent is out of the country at present and had to mail documents back and forth via snail mail.
Long story short, after my husband was called in to travel for work versus pleasure, and dog care plans slid off the map, and schedules were arranged, rearranged, and (after much mumbling of naughty words on my part) rescheduled yet again, I put my foot down. I would grudgingly stay home the first week of my longest-vacation-ever (three whole weeks!) to finish home repairs, get the car into the dealership for repairs, blah, blah, while my husband traveled. But weeks two and three, I was spending my vacation however I wanted. And since my husband was no longer available to party with me, I offered to take wee Patrick on a trip.
“Look at a map of the United States and pick a location,” I told him. “Anywhere you want to go, we’ll go for a week. By train, plane, or automobile, I don’t care.”
Of course, I suggested Florida, where I can get a condo on the ocean for $120 a night (I have friends of friends) and we could see Disney World and swim with dolphins – my personal favorite vacation plan. Or he could go to Washington, D.C., and stay at a hotel within clear sight of the snipers on the White House roof, and tour the city. Or he might choose Las Vegas, with a promised stay at Excalibur, since he’s into knights and medieval doings.
Famous last words: Anywhere you want to go
“Anywhere you want to go, we’ll go,” I assured him, and likewise, I told his mom (my daughter) and my husband to take a back seat and not even try to influence him. This was to be a Patrick and Nana adventure with Patrick in the driver’s seat as to where we were going.
So, it is with a sense of awe and wonder and not a little bit of dread and shock, that I write that we are using our vacation time this year to visit Hoboken, New Jersey, to see a cake store.
Oh yes, you read that right.
I’m not actually in Hoboken yet, as I’m writing this blog a week ahead so that I can travel with no work strings tethering me to the real world. No, I’ll be in Hoboken, the land of 10-year-old dreams of seeing Carlo’s Bake Shop, owned by Buddy Valastro, who runs it with his “La Famiglia.” And if you watch reality TV routinely, as apparently Patrick is dabbling in now, you’d know this is a “must see” stop.
And you’d learn, if you did a little Internet research on economic development in the area, that because this is now such a hot tourist destination, the area hotel has rooms for $300 a night, period (unless you want to stay in Newark, which I do NOT). Car rentals are at an all-time high, too. Supply and demand and free market enterprise – American initiative at work. And you better have booked your airline seats in advance. By the time I figured the budget, I realized I perhaps could have gone to Ireland at less cost….
Oh, well. It will be an adventure no matter where we go, and Patrick doesn’t know (or yet care) that the hotel is across the harbor, with ferry service, from Manhattan. He doesn’t know (I’m holding a surprise card in my hand) that a huge Lego store is within a dozen miles of Hoboken. He doesn’t know that the Jersey Shore and swimming in the ocean are in his near future. He doesn’t know – and I don’t yet know myself – exactly how this adventure will begin and end, except that we are spending four nights in New Jersey and then flying back to Chicago, when NANA will decide what we do the next week together.
All I know is I’ll have a one-on-one experience with one of my very favorite people in the world, and we’ll be making memories enough to see him through a lifetime.
And that’s priceless.
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