None of these things top my list of ingredients for a kick-ass weekend and yet somehow I managed to have one of my best ever. I am a sad excuse for a Rutgers Season Ticket Holder, having been to only two games so far this year (for reasons beyond my control of course.) A girl can't help when she's going to get sick, throw out her back, or desperately need a manicure more than she needs to stand up and yell "R U!" with 10,000 other people. This Saturday, as another home game was set to begin promptly at12 noon, I was well-rested, healthy, and had no choice but to throw on a red Rutgers T-Shirt and a pair of sneakers and head out with T for the long train ride to New Brunswick, New Jersey.
We had cautiously packed up our "rain gear" which consisted of a couple of red ponchos and a full on, puddy-colored Men's Extra Large Rain suit. Annoyed already because I was already wearing a baseball hat due to the light mist that was coming down, I dreaded the thought of having to don either a poncho or that rain suit. I had carefully chosen my black skinny jeans, pumas, and just the right layers for underneath my Rutgers T Shirt to scoff in the face of American Sports Fannery and show that I can still be cute while being a fan and not in that pink-crystal-embellished-team-tank-top-Staten-Islandy way.
When we got off the train, I had moved way past function and onto form since I had to now sport my Rutgers Sweatshirt, the hat and a hood since the rain was now coming down faster than my mood. Four seconds away from turning around to get on the next train back to New York, I looked up and saw T's excited face and decided to suck it up, because that's what you do when you love someone. Dammit. An hour and a half later, I was completely soaked, sitting on a wet bleacher, wearing a rain suit and could literally feel my hair growing into something resembling Richard Simmons' famous 'fro. With every good play, someone near me would stand up and cheer sending a tidal wave of water (and a scowl) onto my face. Yet, even though I would've preferred to have been dry and pretty much anywhere else in the world, in that hour and a half of sopping wet misery, I also managed to soak up (pun intended) an hour and a half of fun with my fiance, my future bro and sis in-law, and some friends.
At half-time, when I decided I couldn't take it anymore. I called up NJ Transit, found out when the next train was and told T that I love him and that because I love him, I am leaving before I break down into a cold, wet tantrum. I gave him a kiss, said my goodbyes and told him, genuinely, to enjoy the rest of the game. As he was walking me out, he stopped abruptly and said "Wait here. I'm going to get my stuff because I'm coming with you." Begging him not to leave on my account, I asked him 10 times if he was sure before finally agreeing to let him go get his things. 40 minutes later, when we were thawing and drying out on the train, I looked over and he looked happier than he had sitting on that bench, screaming his head off at every first-down (the only football term I know), because, hey, that's what you do when you love someone.
On Sunday morning, happy to see the sun shining and be back on my turf, T and I got ready for a day of shopping and errands. He diligently printed out and packed up all of our coupons as I diligently applied the perfect shopping make-up and 3 hours after we woke up, we were headed out the door. Stop 1: Bed Bath and Beyond. Just as a Sunday at Barney's is a religion for New York's single and fabulous, BB&B is the holy grail for NYCs coupled-up. T and I live in Murray Hill, the most pseudo-suburban neighborhood of Manhattan, surrounded by young Jewish couples walking beagles, pushing strollers and driving Range Rovers, so naturally, Bed Bath & Beyond is the new Bergdorf.
Just as we had finished buying that new shower curtain and 40 other items we didn't even know we needed until we set foot in the store, T's phone rang with a call from friends who had just joined the club called Parenthood. They happened to be just across the river, visiting family, and next thing I knew we were back on the train heading across the Hudson. Just 45 minutes after T's phone rang, I found my self surrounded by puppies, babies and the smell of a delicious meal being prepared in a kitchen the size of my living room. Thankfully, our host promptly provided a large glass of wine to save me from the New-Jersey-Family-Living-Anxiety-Attack I was about to have.
Two glasses of wine and a great meal later, I was shining my engagement ring, petting the Pomeranian, holding a baby in my arms and mugging for the camera. I thought to myself, "Is this how it happens, is this how New Jersey steals your cooler-than-thou Manhattan soul?" Even worse, I was thinking to myself that it's really not so bad, even good. What tops an afternoon of good friends, good food and adorable mini-people? I started weighing the pros and cons in my mind. Was it better to pay for an overpriced brunch at Fred's, wearing overpriced clothes, carrying an over priced bag and gossip about your friend-who-moved-to-Jersey's under-priced earrings from Kohls? Or, honestly, was it better to be wearing your most casual, drinking your favorite wine, eating an appropriately-priced, home cooked meal surrounded by people who's company you genuinely enjoy without the necessity of a chic backdrop?
After a car ride in which I ignored all conversation to coo at the adorable baby, wrapped up warm and cozy in her car seat next to me, T and I were back in Manhattan, walking cross town toward our apartment. Clutching the brochure for the New Jersey condo-complex we had just visited in my hands, I found myself blurting out statements faster than they could enter my mind to T. "Ya know, it's really close to the city! Just a Ferry wide away! What a big kitchen we could have!". I bounced along excitedly, dreaming of our new life in New Jersey and stopped revelation-style, looked up at T and said, "I want a dog, a baby and I want to be a stay-at-home mom." His reaction was a mix of half joy (because I was finally letting go of my city-fabulous attitude) and half fear (because it was clear I don't want to go back to work).
I yapped and yapped about being a housewife all the way to Tasti-D-Lite. After a five minute conversation with the faux-ice-cream-store's owner, whom we've gotten to know well over the past three years, we were headed home to watch the Giants play.
We were finally back in our hood and we were approaching the entrance to our building when the world turned normal again and once more I stopped dead in my tracks. I looked up at T, a new revelation on my mind, and said defiantly, "F-ck that. I'm never leaving this city."
All we can do now is wait and see.