Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NYC - Patterson

The plan was to visit the Sony Discovery Museum. It's a place to play with all their new technology. However, in order to get in we had to call ahead. Somehow we got our dates wrong and we arrived on the wrong day. Just as well, there were two groups of school kids wearing blue and red T-shirts. It was loud standing there on the street with them. I couldn't imagine what it would be inside the same room with them. We just looked through Sony's store and decided to go to Patterson early.

Returning to the airport for our rental car was simple. We just hired another taxi. I went to 6th avenue and hailed a yellow van-taxi who told me ahead of time what the cost would be. It cost us $60, including tolls and tip.

We've been doing fairly well on expenses. Excluding hotel and taxis to and from the airport we've spent about $50/day. Spending $60 on a taxi to Manhattan seems expensive. But when you consider taking a bus or trains it's not so bad. With the four of us it averaged $15 each both ways. Hotels will come to about $1,100. Of course, if Ruth keeps putting change in every hat on the street, we'll never be able to stay within our budges. Here she is posing with a perfectly still dog and cat.

I'm so impressed by the Super 8 we stayed at in Manhattan. It was clean, they provided free breakfast and Internet access, and they were right in the middle of Manhattan, centrally located. With good walking shoes you could walk anywhere and save the cost of the trains. (It cost $2 per ride or $5 unlimited rides for a day.)

We decided to go rent our car early and begin the trip up to Patterson. We got lost several times on the way but eventually got there.

On the way up we ate some snacks. We brought some nuts, crackers, and bananas. While I drove, Ruth offered to peel for me a banana. I accepted and realized that she has handed me the banana stem side down. What? She pealed from the smooth end. She says that she always peals the banana from the non-stemed end! We've been married for over 25 years and I never realized that this is the way she always does this. How is this possible? I explain that you are supposed to peal it from the stemmed end. But she insists that there are no open direction labels on the fruit. There is no "This side up" anywhere she says.

We needed more than snacks. We had to get something to eat. We stopped at an Applebees. I not too impressed with these restaurants. This one smelled of stale table rags when we sat down but we were so hungry it didn't matter. (Looking back, if I ever have this experience again I'm leaving the restaurant.) We ordered and the food was just okay. While the boys had desert I went to the bathroom to change into my slacks, shirt and tie.

Meeting dress is required when you pick up your guest key to stay at Patterson Inn. It's a rather crazy idea I think. I guess some of the guests arriving were dressed rather outlandish so now you are required to go as if dressed for a meeting.

Anyway, when I opened the door I discovered that one of the toilets had overflowed. There was water (and other stuff) on the floor. I don't know if you've ever tried to change your pants above a floor with pools of water, but it's nearly impossible to keep you pants from slapping the tiles and sopping up what's there. I stood on the tops of my shoes, emptied my pockets of keys and change onto a baby changing table attached to the wall. At one point I almost toppled with one leg in and my right foot stuck. I started going over when I grabbed the baby table. Fortunately it held or I would have been the dry mop for the toilet water.

As soon as we arrived a huge storm rolled in and lightening slapped and crackled from above. I sat in the car while Ruth, Eric and Forest went inside the A&P for groceries. One especially loud flash danced on the tops of the light posts in the parking lot. I had visions they'd arrived back at the car only to find a charred driver clutching the steering wheel. They'd peer in, see me slumped over, and thinking I was just taking a nap would ask: "Been gone long?"

I backed into a slot right near the door to wait. I watched the cascading rain dump into the parking lot in such volume my fast whippers couldn't keep up. Lakes formed in the huge parking area and I swear I saw Noah's ark float by. Seriously, it was impossible to get from your car to the store without resembling a coach at a football game just after being drenched by Gatorade. I saw one guy gazelle through the ponds and rivers of the asphalt wearing slacks, white shirt and tie. When he arrived at his car his once billowing white shirt looked like a biker's spandex top and his skin bled through. His once puffy hair looked like a wet mop atop his head.

The Inn at Patterson was unbelievably clean, especially after staying at the Super 8. These rooms are immaculate. I know I've heard the expression "So clean you could eat off the floor." but that's just exactly what I'd do. And the workmanship is outstanding. As I sat in the bathroom I was amazed that I couldn't determine any seams in the wallpaper. The wallpaper was a striped and textured affair, but it was impossible to find the seams. I looked at them from about eight inches away! The tiles were perfect, even at the corners the tiles were at perfect right angles to the walls. The grout between the tiles was so precise it was as if drawn by a #2 pencil lead. The room includes a fridge, microwave, iron, cable TV, remote, and automatic coffee maker. (But no hair dryer?)

Bob and Cathy met us at the boy's room bringing a bottle of 2001 Cana Cabernet. Wow! Great stuff. A brother makes this I guess. Even the cork says: "Cana, the miracle continues."

We sat and visited while nibbling Cathy's chocolate chocolate-chip cookies. Bob was telling us about how he conducts his Book Study in the Daniel book. He's got little drawing projects he assigns to the kids and research questions he assigns to the adults. You can't fall asleep in his book study, that for sure!

We parted at 10:30 p.m. and agreed to call them tomorrow after the tour.

Never change clothes over a wet restroom floor. -Dave Terry