We were up, dressed, and nearly packed. Rowan was finishing her oatmeal, and I was toasting some bread and sucking down coffee. Then we got the call.
"We missed our plane!" Sob, sob, hysterical crying followed by anger at her husband's mistake. But they were coming, just later. She would understand if we didn't even want to make the 4 1/2 hour drive to New York.
"Rock, we're still coming. I planned, I packed, we're ready. Even if we just have dinner together, it will be worth it."
I crossed my fingers that my pep talk with Rowan the night before had stuck. "Roxy! Josh! New York! One two fee foh five six seben eight nine ten!" She was excited.
We took our time, checked the net, and got going around 9:45. Leisurely is much less stressful, and being trapped for many hours in a big city with a toddler who wasn't reacting well would be my idea of a nightmare, so I planned for a little time but not too much. We got approved to check into their room early at the hotel, and I set the GPS.
On the road, Rowan was *great*. She snoozed for about 30 minutes, but mostly just stared out the window, calmly watching Pennsylvania slide by. We stopped at a little local place in Hazleton, PA, for lunch, eschewing the "freedom fries" that were still on the menu, and surprising the waitress by ordering coffee, no cream (I guess she was expecting me to either ask for soda or a cappucino), and by Rowan's excellent behavior. I had a roast beef, fried onion and cheddar on toast, and Rowan wolfed her hot dog, applesauce, and most of my mixed veggies. We cranked the tunes and drove on.
As we headed into the city, the headache settled in, thanks to the smog. We got to the hotel, asked for advice from the front desk, and went to settle in. I had forgotten to fill my Excedrin, but other than that, all was well. We planned to take public transport into Manhattan, because quite frankly $45 is a lot to spend on a car ride, and after a year of Paris buses and metros, I wasn't worried. We were heading to Central Park first.
"Are you excited, honey?"
"Yes!!!" she said, and danced in a circle.
"Yeah!!! Yay!!!" she shouted, as she jumped up and down.
"Where are we?"
Her face split into a huge grin, and she squealed.