Car fail, food win, Daily Show fail

We had decided not to follow the trail of thunderstorms up the east coast by leaving Friday night, slept a bit and got underway around 5AM. Everything was fine at first, then as we closed in on the I-270 split on the Beltway, my cruise control turned itself off. That had never happened before, and it wouldn’t go back on. I thought that was odd, but the car is 15 years old and things happen. The car still seemed fine, so I resigned myself to a day without cruise control and we kept on going. But 30 minutes later, as we were on 95 between Washington and Baltimore, the lights went off. The radio was still working, but I wasn’t willing to take any chances, so I turned it off and turned the car around. I took 29 back to the Beltway – the car seemed willing to keep going, so I got back on the Beltway. By this time it was totally light, so no lights didn’t hurt us, and we got home ok. Some kind of electrical problem (I suspect the alternator), but no time to deal with it.

So we pulled all the stuff out of my car and put it in Jill’s, picked up a couple items we’d forgotten, and were on our way again a little before 8. Aside from the lack of air conditioning, the first part of the trip went fine, we stopped for lunch (Roy Rogers chicken for me, Blimpie roast beef sandwich for her) and made it through Jersey without issues. When I was mapping the trip using Google Maps, the trip straight through New York City was fastest, and maybe if we’d left at our original starting time that would have been true, but it was a slow 90 minute slog over the bridge and through the city. After that we were doing pretty well on 95 for a while, then hit another backup in Connecticut. After listening to the radio we determined it was a bad one, and got off the highway and got over to 15, which paralleled 95 for a while, then met up with 91, which was what we wanted to do.

The rest of the trip was pretty easy, and we got to Jill’s mom’s place around 5PM. After we had talked to everyone and relaxed for a bit, we started to think about dinner. Everyone wanted something different, so we took orders and headed off to Northampton with Jill’s sisters. First Jill’s sister Melissa got some chicken fingers for her son Tiernan and ribs for her aunt Vickie at Teapot (a Chinese place), then Jill’s sister Robin went to Fitzwilly’s to get a salad. Jill and I went to Thai Garden where I ordered the Duck Kapow and she ordered the green curry chicken, plus we got some spring rolls for Melissa. I noticed a package store across the street and decided to check it out – good decision as they had growlers of Opa Opa beer, including the watermelon ale they’d been out of when we ate there before. Finally we stopped at Bueno Y Sano for tacos and fajitas for Jill’s mom Sue and her husband Dave, plus quesadillas for Melissa. We headed back home and consumed mass quantities, then chatted late into the night before going our separate ways.

Sunday we started off right, going running with Robin and Melissa around the reservoir at Mount Holyoke College. Then Sue made a big breakfast spread, with Eggs Benedict, pancakes, sausage and fruit. We all went to a tag sale in Holyoke one of Sue’s friends was running after lunch, then I read on the porch while the sisters ran off to check out the place Melissa might be living in the fall (she’s moving to the states with her family). In the afternoon, Jill and I left early with Sue and Dave for Amherst, Dave and I hit the record shops while Jill and Sue tried the yarn shops and bookstores. Gram, Melissa and Robin joined us at 4 to eat dinner at Judie’s. I started with the seafood bisque while Jill had the curried spinach and chickpea soup, then I had the lamb shank while Jill had the steak with risotto. I also tried some of the house popovers, and for dessert had a bit of the red velvet cake and the chocolate torte. Everything was delicious and our waitress was superb. We were pretty stuffed after that and just talked after we got back. The porch was a nice place to hang out, and we managed to convince Robin to come with us to Falcon Ridge (she already had taken the week off).

Monday morning we got up early for pictures (Melissa and Tiernan were headed home that day), then had some cereal and hit the road. We go to Bridgeport right on time to catch the hourly train into New York City. We arrived a little before 1PM, and took two subway trips over to the Meatpacking District. At the suggestion of our friends Hannah and Dave, we had lunch at The Spotted Pig. Most meals were pork based, we started with some roasted almonds for Jill and a deviled egg (with lemon) for me, then a Cuban sandwich for Jill and a prosciutto and romano tart for me. All was excellent, washed down with some good beers. We wandered around shopping, then went uptown to where the Daily Show taped. Now the instructions we’d got originally was to show up between 3:30-4:30, and I’d went online and found advice to show up at 3 just in case. But Friday before we’d left I got an email saying they’d be taping an hour later and to show up between 4:30-5:30 (guest was Brian Williams who had his own show to tape), and I wanted to show up by 4. We did get there by 4, but the line was already wrapped around the block. I didn’t have the greatest feeling about that, so we got in line and waited. After 90 minutes, someone came out and told everyone beyond about 6 people behind us they weren’t getting in, and that the last 20 of us were on standby. It took another hour for them to let people in, and the people right in front of us got in, but we didn’t.

We were pretty disappointed about being there and spending all that time and not getting in, but they said that we could email them and get on a VIP list for another time, and then we’d be first in (Jill’s still bitter, but I might be able to wrangle another NYC trip if I agree to go to a Rachel Ray taping). We decided just to head back, got some food at Grand Central Station, and caught the next train out. We ran into some construction traffic, got back around 11PM. We hadn’t been hungry before then, I heated up my sandwich and Jill had some leftover curried chicken.

Tuesday Jill, Robin and I went out shopping, first to Atkins for fruit and produce and Trader Joe’s for other various food stuffs. We stopped in Northampton, did a little more shopping at Acme Surplus (cheap camping supplies), then met Sue for lunch at the Northampton Brewery. Jill and I got beer on a stick, then she had the jambalya and I had the poblano meatloaf sandwich, both pretty tasty. Then Jill and Robin hit some yarn shops while I perused the clearance section at Turn It Up Records. We went over to paternal grandparents, put our groceries in their fridge, and took them in their Buick to see Jill and Robin’s dad and his wife. We had burgers and hot dogs and salads that Jill’s grandmother had made for us when we thought we’d be there for lunch on Saturday afternoon. We talked in their gazebo outside for a while until it got dark, then headed back. By the time we finally made it back to Sue’s, it was after 11PM and we went to bed after checking email.

Today Gram made us eggs and toast for breakfast, Jill did laundry and I started this blog. Then I stopped at the Holyoke library for their free Wi-Fi in order to check email on my computer and download some stuff. Next we’ll go out to Stop & Shop for the rest of the groceries. We’ll be off for Hillsdale soon with Robin, hopefully the all day rain yesterday will be the worst of the rest of the week.