Scott – Nyan’s uncle, daddy’s brother – came for a visit last weekend. It was his first time to meet Nyan, and only his second time in New York, and first time since 2003. I can’t say that he did too many tourist things, but he didn’t seem to mind too much.
I took the day off on Friday, and Scott arrived mid-morning after an early flight from Chicago. The four of us (Scott, Nyan, Beatrice and I) hung out for a bit; Beatrice went grocery shopping just as a huge monsoon of a rainstorm – we’re talking probably 3 or 4 inches of rain in the space of two hours – settled in over Brooklyn. Adding insult to injury, an auto parts warehouse about four blocks south caught fire, sending huge clouds of noxious, possibly toxic smoke all over the neighborhood. So there wasn’t a whole lot of incentive to leave the apartment. But that was alright; we hung out, chatted, and played with Nyan. Nyan readily took to Uncle Scott, cooing and smiling and turning on his nearly legendary charm.
Eventually the rain let up, and Scott and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. Nothing fancy, just showing off the basketball arena, the brownstones, the commercial districts, the colorful cast of characters that call our ‘hood home. We went down to the site of the fire – Fourth Avenue, a major artery, was still completely shut down, with dozens of fire trucks still putting out the last bits of the fire; tires, I figured – and got back to the apartment just before another visitor arrived: Susanna, Chris’s friend and old colleague from the Virgin Islands.
Susanna and Chris worked together way back when at a weekly newspaper on Tortola, and later worked briefly at the daily paper on St Thomas as well before she returned to Tortola, where she remains today. She was in New York for a conference, and came over on Friday afternoon to hang out and meet Beatrice and Nyan. (She has an awesome blog about the Virgin Islands, too.)
So the five of us did what the four of us had done the rest of the day: hung out, chatted, fell under the spell of Nyan’s charms. (Or at least that’s how his proud parents saw it…) Beatrice whipped up a delicious dinner; she and I gave Nyan his standard early evening bath, making sure to call Scott and Susanna in to “see how cute he is in the tub!” Yeah, we’re *those* insufferable parents who know that their baby is the cutest. Well, it would be insufferable if it were not, in this case, true…
On Saturday morning, I woke up around 9 and took Nyan out of the bedroom so Beatrice could catch up on some sleep. The three of us bonded (which meant, uh, eating hash browns and watching TV) until Beatrice woke up around 11. It was football Saturday, so we tucked Nyan into his Hawkeye onesie while Scott and I watched the Iowa football game. Beatrice, bless her, even whipped up that most disgusting Iowa/L. family “delicacy” of spam and cheese sandwiches. Totally gross if you think about it for even a moment, but it’s sort of a family tradition, for better or for worse, and it is, in a way, comfort food, especially on a football Saturday.
After the game, I decided Scott needed a bit of tourist activity, so we took the subway over to Manhattan. We walked from the Staten Island ferry terminal along Battery Park, up to Ground Zero and down to Wall Street. Throngs of people at Ground Zero; protesters occupying a park near Wall Street; the Stock Exchange and Federal Hall across the street cordoned off by barricades and police. The price of freedom is, apparently, a lack of freedom. And a very heavy police presence. (Welcome to the brave new world, Nyan!) Saturday evening was dinner, movie on the couch (127 Hours, very good) and then bed.
Uncle Scott left around midday on Sunday, but not before a few more hours of bonding with Nyan. He’s quite good with the boy – laughing, talking, just keeping him company – though Scott did decline, repeatedly, to change Nyan’s diaper, even when we offered, repeatedly, to let him do so. I guess he just didn’t want to take that special moment away from Beatrice and me…
Sunday was Daddy’s birthday. Beatrice had signed me up for a photography workshop at an art gallery in Soho, so I headed over there not long after Scott left. It was a small ground of amateur photographers walking around the West Village and the High Line park, taking photos and developing our ‘eye.’ Lots of fun, and I learned a lot, but unfortunately it was rather disorganized – it was the maiden offering of this workshop by this gallery – so my day didn’t quite go as planned. The workshop was scheduled to last from 2 until 4:30; then, around 7, the photos we took would be displayed on the digital screens at the gallery. So the plan was that I would head back to Brooklyn at 4:30, hang out with the family for a bit, then return around 7 – either with Beatrice and Nyan or not, depending on how he was doing and how brave we were feeling about lugging him to the city.
But the group didn’t return to the gallery until after 5:30; had I gone back to Brooklyn, I would have had to pretty much headed right back immediately to make it back by 7. So I stuck around. As it happened, it took much longer than planned to get the photos up on the screens, so the reception/show didn’t start until after 8pm. Still, worth the wait: it was very cool to see my photos blown up and displayed on these high-tech screens, and it was a great day overall.
I didn’t get home until after 9pm though – meaning I’d been away from my family for eight straight hours! Not at all what I had planned. And Nyan had been fussy much of the day – I think perhaps because he had been used to lots of attention from Uncle Scott all weekend, and then it was suddenly taken away from him – so Beatrice was rather worn out by the time I got home.
The weekend didn’t end quite as planned. But three days of friends and family and lots and lots of Nyan? Hard to beat.