Honey, You Are Nowhere NEAR New York.

About two weeks ago my coworker Matt said “We’re going to the Westminster dog show” and I jokingly said “If I wear a purple shirt, can I show up and pet all the dogs?”  (Purple is our color)  Matt said “We have an extra ticket, if you want to go.”  By “we” I mean the place where I work.  There is a part of the show where there are booths set up for each breed and you can go and pet every single dog.  That is the part I am going to.  The rest of the time I will be stalking theater tickets.

That was all I needed.  In two weeks I planned a trip to NYC, and of course, I could NOT just go for the weekend, I had to make it a week.  I bought a ticket for the show Disaster! on Thursday, so I have to get to NYC by 7pm on Thursday.  It is generally a 7 hour drive from my house to NYC.  To be on the safe side, since it is winter, after all, I figured I should allow 10 hours to drive.  I do not wake up that early.

My brilliant plan was to leave Wednesday night, drive at least 4 hours, and stay in a hotel so that I could wake up at a normal hour (11am) and just meander my way in to the city.

I said a long goodbye to my cat, taught my mom how to FaceTime on my iPad so that I can talk to him while I am gone, and packed up Hamster Car and left.

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My mom packed me a special bag so that if my blood sugar goes low I will have rescue items.  I think that is adorable.  What is even better is the bag she used.  I am fairly certain she has had this since my parents got married.

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Here is what was in it:

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What you see is a Thermos of orange juice, graham crackers, Pop Tarts, peanut butter, and my vitamins and a few prescriptions.  Oh, and the stuff I use to make flavored water.  I love this.

I set out ready for the road, listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I drove for three hours.  And because of snow, I ended up at 11:30pm, less than an hour and a half away from my house.  I am at a hotel in Pennsylvania, wayyyyyy closer to Ohio than New York.

I came in and said “I was supposed to drive halfway to New York tonight” and the lady said “Honey, you are nowhere NEAR New York.”

Here are some of the reasons I did not get very far despite three hours spent in the car:

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You might notice that it is not actually snowing.  There was no snow falling from the sky.  It is on the ground, and even then, not in an impressive amount.  Pennsylvania just could not be bothered to plow it, so no one could drive.  You see how there are tracks that you could follow?  I followed those.  When I took this picture, the person behind me was blinking his lights and honking at me because I was driving 20 miles an hour.  This will be a puzzle for you to solve – please look at the picture and tell the asswipe SUV behind me exactly WHY I could not go any faster.  He did not seem to realize that a Hamster Car cannot just drive over a semi truck.

So anyway, I asked Male Australian Siri where the nearest hotel was, and he told me, and I got off the highway and chose the hotel that was nearest to the hospital signs that I saw, because this is me.  There is every chance I will need that hospital in the next 18 hours.  I might as well be within walking distance.

The only place with food open was the 24 hour McDonald’s.  Believe it or not, I do not eat fast food.  I eat a LOT, I just do not eat fast food.  But I got McDonald’s and sat in my hotel that has two beds, and I decided the one bed could be The Bed On Which I Eat McDonald’s and the other bed will be the Bed On Which I Sleep.

Before I even entered the room, of course, I checked for bed bugs.  This is imperative.  My fear of bed bugs is equal to my fear of lava and earthquakes.

I made the TV go on and it told me that Tropic Thunder would be on at 1am.  Given that I drank a Venti Iced Vanilla Latte in anticipation of driving until 1am, I am awake and looking forward to that.  I love Tropic Thunder.  While I am waiting for Tropic Thunder there is a show about Boko Haram and it confirmed my theory that men should live on an island by themselves.  But now it is about messing around with genetics to create designer babies and I do not know how it went from one subject to the next.

Also I want to be eating more food, because I eat at night, and I have no snacks.  I cannot eat my low blood sugar snacks because then my blood sugar will go low and I will be without snacks.

I am going to try to post in “real time” my NYC blogs so that I do not leave anything out.  That probably will not actually happen, but we will see.  Oh, and I forgot my scarf.  And I do not have a winter jacket.  I do have gloves, though.  And new shoes because my old ones had holes in them.  Ok and I am a horrible person – I mean, seriously, I have shame for posting this, but I sometimes think midgets are funny.  OMG.  That is so wrong.  You are not allowed to say that.  But look – this one hotel room accommodates Little People.  It is only one room, but that is better than none?

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My Dad Shrunk My Fancy Work Shirt.

I have been posting on Facebook for weeks now about how horrified I am that I have to buy grown up clothes for some upcoming work travel.  I wear the same thing every day – jeans and a black tee shirt and a hoodie.  I have 7 pairs of the same jeans, 10 of the same long sleeved back tee shirt, and 10 of the same short sleeved black tee shirt. I do not own clothes other than these.  So when I found out that I had to dress “business casual” for work trips, I freaked.

I actually found out on my way to New York, and spent my entire vacation saying to everyone I met “I have to wear grown up clothes for work and I don’t own any”.  Clothes are a big deal for me.  Whether or not I am actually “on the spectrum”, one of the very common things is that I am super particular about what I wear in terms of the way it feels and the way it fits.  If something is even slightly too tight, it will change my entire day and how I act and how I am able to function.  This is why I wear clothes a size too big.  But, as Catharine used to say, it looks like I am wearing a garbage bag, so there is nothing professional looking about wearing a size too big.  I cannot stand any fabric that is not stretchy jeans or cotton.

Part of my business casual is an official button down shirt with my company’s name on it.  It is very fancy.  I was happily surprised because it felt nice.  It also fit on the large size.  I put it in the washing machine with the intent of air drying it because my work tee shirts all shrunk two sizes in the dryer.  When I do laundry, for two loads, it can take me around 8 hours.  I do not rush back to the washer to switch the clothes, etc.  My dad, on the other hand – if he hears the washer stop, which he always does, I hear “YOUR LAUNDRY NEEDS TO BE SWITCHED” from the other room.  I say “OK DO NOT WORRY, I WILL DO IT”.  And I will.  But I have never had the chance because within 5 minutes my dad is up and switching my laundry.  Usually I hear him and can tend to it, but I did not hear him this time.  I was taking out recycling when I noticed the dryer was on and the washer was running again.  I pulled out my Fancy Work Shirt and lo and behold, it was completely dry, and two sizes smaller.  I can wear it unbuttoned with a shirt underneath, but the shoulders and arms shrunk and are SO TIGHT AND UNCOMFORTABLE I WILL DIE.

Hopefully I can wear the business casual wardrobe I ordered online, which consists of four pairs of identical black pants and four identical “blouses”.  Not shirts.  That is how I knew they were fancy, they are called “blouses”.  They look like long sleeved tee shirts with a few buttons down the front, so I think I will be able to tolerate them.  Here is a picture.

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I will report back on my wardrobe issues while I travel, as I am sure there will be many.

My Adventures In New York.

*****I am editing this after the fact because I did not realize what I wrote about cabs versus walking made Jane sound like an awful person!!  I tend to have this issue where I think I am being funny or clear about something, and it turns out, I am being a jerk!  Jane was NOT mean about the walking/blood sugar thing!  I meant to emphasize that we walked because she does not like cabs, and with all of my fears, I would never judge someone based on theirs, so we walked.  Jane is NOT out to kill me!  I feel terrible so I want it known publicly that Jane is a wonderful friend, hostess and attender to my fears/phobias – she would never try to kill me or intentionally make me do something bad.

Here we go!

My adventure started by driving to the Kia dealership to get my oil changed and my tires rotated and all that.  About two weeks prior to leaving on my trip, I estimated I had a certain amount of money, and I was completely fine with that.  When it came time to leave, I had about half of what I expected.  No, I did not spend it on soft things or candy, I actually paid bills.  So anyway, my mom went with me so she could use her credit card to pay for my car stuff (and add it to my never ending tally that my dad keeps of money I owe him).  While at the Kia dealership, we got into an argument about that commercial where little girls use the F-Bomb to show that it is shocking to hear kids saying that, but it is more shocking that women are so unequal to men.  Here, you can watch it, too.  Our argument had nothing to do with what was said in the video, it was because my mom said that all little girls think they have to be sassy and have an attitude and she hates that.  I told her that was completely not the point.  She said she didn’t care, the girls in that video are acting like jerks.  I said they were acting.

Anyway, I started on my drive to Pennsylvania because I was staying with my friends Steve and Jane.  I got there after getting lost and adding about 40 minutes to my drive.  I was promised ice cream upon arrival, so Steve and I went and got ice cream.

We woke up at an ungodly hour the next morning so that Jane and I could get on a bus and go to NYC.  Bus rides are boring.  They are also scary.  It was 2 hours or something.  We were deposited at Port Authority where we searched out the nearest Starbucks and (for Jane) the bathroom.  I had a glorious venti iced peppermint mocha.  We got into a cab and went to our hotel, where I got out of the cab and proceeded to drop my glorious beverage on the ground.  It was horrible.

We dropped off our stuff and went to see If/Then.  I wanted to take a cab because I am really bad at factoring in exercise and insulin, and my blood sugar would undoubtedly go low in the middle of the show.  Jane did not want to take a cab because as much as my fear of flying or buses is, that is her fear/dislike of cabs.  I can’t argue with that!  So we walked and we got to the theater and stood by the stage door because we were early enough to catch the actors coming into the theater.  We didn’t know it at the time, but we basically saw the entire cast come in – the only people I knew were Anthony Rapp and Idina Menzel, though, so we pretty much ignored the others.  Anthony came and was adorable and I didn’t say anything because I knew he was in a hurry, so I just stared at him.  Then it got later and later, and no Idina.  The show was at 2, and it was 1:45.  Everyone else (in terms of patrons) had gone into the theater, but Jane and I were resilient and we stayed by the door.  I knew not to say a single thing when Idina came, because she was obviously late and would be in a big hurry, so I basically flattened myself against the wall by the door, and then, like the goddess she is, she came.  She was carrying her sick kid, which just proves she is beyond normal humanity, because the kid was pretty big, and she is pretty small, and she was carrying him for a long time.  She went into the stage door and I, flattened against the wall, stared.  I was within her breathing space.  I might have inhaled her kids germs, which could have made me sick, which basically means Idina Menzel is my BFF.

We went into the theater, the show was amazing, and my blood sugar DID go low at intermission, and I had nothing to treat it with, so I just unplugged my insulin pump.  It still went lower anyway, so I figured I’d buy a coke after the show, but after the show, all the Coke people were closed.  There was still Stage Door Stalking to do, so I ignored my low blood sugar and stalked Anthony Rapp.  He remembered me!   I have told this story before, but long story short, many years ago in the pre-Broadway tour of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, my friends Catharine and Mo and I went to see it in Detroit.  We Stage Door Stalked after the show, and were some of the last people to meet Anthony.  He said “Do you guys know where I can buy contact lens solution?” and Mo, being the native Detroit person, said yes, but that it was not within walking distance.  Then she said “Do you want a ride there?” and he said “yes” and we all nearly died as Anthony Rapp got into Catharine’s car and we drove him to Rite Aid.  He helped me pick out a birthday card for my friend, and we talked about Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.  So there was that.  And then when he and Adam Pascal were back in the tour of RENT in Cleveland more recently, he asked about vegan food in Cleveland (not directly to me, it was via Twitter or something), and I brought him vegan stuff.  That was a very quick interaction, though.  So anyway – he remembered me!  This is sort of strange, but because Catharine (who is now dead) was with us, and because RENT was a big thing for me and Catharine (who is now dead), Anthony Rapp has a meaning for me beyond just fan girl appreciation.  I have been watching him for nearly 20 years (not quite, but nearly) and it was all with Catharine and so to me, seeing Anthony Rapp is very familiar and for me, it is like seeing a Comfort Person.  I do not have many Comfort People, so this is a big thing.  Idina is not a comfort person, that is totally a fan girl thing.  Part of the reason Anthony is a Comfort Person is also because his voice is the only one I can sing with in the car.  So Catharine and I would sing RENT and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and I would sing all his parts and she’d sing everyone else.  So anyway, even though he does not have any idea, the man means a lot to me.

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I basically died – not just because I love him, but because my blood sugar was still super low.  Jane and I crashed into the only restaurant we could find that didn’t have a line out the door and I drank Pepsi.  Mmmmm, real Pepsi.  Not diet.  So good.

Then I said we should take a cab to see Cabaret, because I didn’t want my blood sugar to go low again, and Jane said no.  But she said she’d buy me a preemptive Coke/Pepsi just in case.  We got to the theater, and I finally had to pee (more on peeing in future posts, but as most of you know because I talk about it so much, I rarely pee).  Jane said the bathrooms were normal, but maybe I am just used to luxurious midwestern bathroom stalls, I thought it was the smallest stall I had ever seen.  I had to lean back over the toilet to close the door!  And then….well….and then my bra popped off.  Only my friend Mary knows the second part of this story, but the part I will share is that my bra popped off.  It just unhooked, all by itself.  So I am in this microstall without a bra.  Because of my wrist issues, I cannot reach back and just rehook it, I have to take everything off, hook it while it is off of me, and put it on like a shirt (TMI, sorry).  So I did that in the microstall.  It was difficult.

Cabaret was *amazing*.  I hate the show because, you know, naked.  Lots and lots of naked.  I’ve seen it before in NYC, but not with Alan Cumming.  Words cannot describe how amazing he is.  He brought depth to the role of the Emcee that I have never experienced, and it went from being a show that I didn’t care for with very little plot that meant anything to an actual story that I cared about.  He was flawless.  His improv was perfect, he was funny and charming, and while he was basically naked the whole time, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  Even when he wasn’t the focus, I just watched wherever he was.

Then….Stage Door Stalking.  We were not allowed to take pictures with Alan Cumming, but he came out and said hi and signed things and we still took pictures of him, just not of us with him.  I had the beyond brilliant conversation as follows:
Me:  Hi Alan Cumming I am reading your book and I read your other book too but I did not like that one I mean I liked it but not as much as this one.
Alan Cumming:  Thank you.
Me:  I did not mean that I did not like your other book, I just like this one better.
Alan Cumming:  I do, too.

Sigh.

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On Sunday Jane and I had our official “Meet Every Friend on Facebook For Coffee” date, and then went to Jane’s mom’s house for her (Jane’s) birthday dinner.  This is their dog, Bella.

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I went back to NYC on Monday by myself, on the Scary Bus.  I had four coffee dates!  I also pet roughly 20 dogs and saw about 50 of them.  It was fantastic.  I am going to detail my coffee dates (all of them, not just the NYC ones) in a separate part of my blog, so I will just talk about the time between coffee dates.

Hotel – very cool and modern, but very much like a New York apartment.  Here is the distance between my knees and the wall in the bathroom.

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Another MicroBathroom.  Also, there was a window from the bedroom (which was the bed plus about 6 inches on either side) into the shower/bathroom.  See?

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Here is the view from the bathroom into the bedroom.

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I basically spent all my time just wandering between coffee dates, and petting dogs.  When I got back to my hotel at night, it was FREEZING in the room.  The window had been open when I came in, and I shut it, so I knew it wasn’t that.  I tried turning the heat on, and just cold air came out.  So I called the People Who Fix These Things and they came up and said that the heat would not come on until it was below a certain temperature outside, and it was not yet below that temperature.  But then he looked at the window, and it was open at the top!  Who ever heard of such a thing, a window opening at the time.  I thought all the street noise was especially loud, but I knew I closed the window, so I figured the walls were just thin.  He closed the window and all was well and I offered him a Hershey Nugget and he did not accept.

Coming soon – Coffee Dates!  It will be its own section on the home page with a drop down menu.