November 2004 was a really special time in my family's life. My father was being honored at a black-tie event at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. We were all staying at the Marriott in Times Square. My family isn't unfamiliar with the city. My dad goes at least once a year on business. My sister lived there for many years. The rest of us have travelled there a lot, for business and pleasure. I visited my sister for a month one fall and had a wonderful time. If I were 25, I would live there. Now, I like to visit.
This visit was my husband's first trip to the city. It's always fun to go someplace with someone who's never been there before. All in all, it was a magical long weekend. November in New York is great because you get to see all the window displays set up for Christmas.
For some reason none of us took pictures that night. My dad's secretary took some and emailed them all to us. There was also a professional photographer there. The following April, we visited my family over our spring break. While we were there, my dad gave me three pictures that he had purchased from the professional photographer. One was of all of us, one was of my sisters, me, and our husbands, and one was just of Jim and I. They were wonderful photos, and I loved them. And then they were gone.
When we got home and unpacked, I couldn't find them anywhere. I searched everywhere. I tore the car apart. I checked the empty luggage, and then I checked it again. I flipped through magazines we had with us on the trip in case they were stuck between pages. I did the same for the books. I pouted. I sulked. I called my dad to find out if I could purchase another set. I couldn't.
Time passed, and it was just one more of those things in life that you wished you could change, but couldn't. So you just move on.
Yesterday was an early day for Jim and I. First, we had an early appointment with the doctor for our second Hep B shot. I also had blood drawn for a cholesterol check. The doctor cornered me a month ago for a new series of blood tests, since it had been a 18 months. That appointment had been in the afternoon, so I hadn't fasted. I had thought I was just going in for shots. The blood draw was his way of saying Happy New Year! After the doctor's appointment, we headed off to breakfast, then to the post office to mail out this week's batch of Ebay sales. It was a good one! Then we headed off to get our new fingerprints done. They've expired.
When we got our fingerprint letter earlier in the week, the USCIS was telling us to go to a field office that would have meant driving through Chicago and north up the west side of Lake Michigan. According to Mapquest, the trip would take us approximately two hours. Anyone who has ever driven through Chicago will tell you, however, that mileage and time do not match here. We'd have been lucky to get there in four! It took several emails, but USCIS finally responded agreeing to let us go to the field office we used last time. You know the one actually IN the state we live. The one that was only an hour and a half away, instead of four. Midway between the town we live in and the town we were being fingerprinted is the town Jim lived in 10 years ago.
Jim has his favorite hair salon there. Margaret has been cutting his hair for, I'm guessing, over 15 years. I'll give him credit, he gave places around here a shot, but she really does cut his hair best. Since we'd be going through the town, he called an made a 4:30 appointment.
Fingerprinting took us a grand total of 15 minutes. We ended up with about four hours to kill before his hair appointment. We were trying to decide between seeing a movie or going to the mall. We were in a bigger town than we live in, so the mall is much bigger. On our way to see what was playing at the theater, Jim noticed a Toys R Us and pulled in. He said we needed to see what kind of toys Sera was going to like.
We went into that store like two unsuspecting fools.
The first thing I saw was the word CLEARANCE. I would go one way and Jim another and then we'd meet up and show each other what we found. So far, so good though. The cart was still empty. Then I found some multi-packs of receiving blankets and thought they'd be good to send to the orphanage. Jim calls me over because he found the cutest lamp with butterflys on the base that would perfectly match the nursery. A couple of future gifts for our nephews caught our eye. The cart is filling up.
And then I saw the most beautiful sight. Baby clothes on clearance. I found a cute denim capri and fleece hoodie outfit, plus a set of four onesies. Jim found an adorable two-piece bathing suit. The top and bottom are connected by a giant ladybug, and they had matching shoes. By the time we were finished, we no longer had time to go to the movies or money to go to the mall. We did, however, have some pretty big smiles.
I really tried not to buy too much in the way of clothes or shoes while we waiting since we had left the gender option open. Every now and then, I would indulge myself by buying an outfit or two. Which reminds me, I have some boy clothes I need to do something with. Anyway, when we got home, I started putting the new clothes away in the closet. I was sorting through some things and found a Carter's bag I had slipped over a hanger. I peeked inside and remembered Jim and I buying two outfits at the outlet mall when we started paperchasing in April 2005. I pulled the bag down to see what we had bought and what sizes because I certainly couldn't remember.
Inside that bag was another bag. This bag held a greeting card I had purchased at Wal-mart. When I pulled it out of the bag, my New York photos were stuck inside.
Yesterday was a very good day.