We’re on a quest, kid – Pt 2

Technically, it’s a keyboard

Getting back into the city was also fun.

We were supposed to head up to Ricky and Kathy’s for some clothes and stuff for the kid, so we headed to their pad in the East Village first.

This was actually shot on the way to Red Hook.

Wanted to take a ferry there as well but I couldn’t make the timing work, so we caught the express bus instead.

We found ourselves passing the same churro store the Firecracker and I were at just a week earlier.

Kathy was out and Ricky was feeling under the weather, so we just grabbed the stuff and left.

Him: A piano!
Me: Well, technically, it’s a keyboard.
Him: A keyboard!
Me: (laughing) Yes.

But we weren’t done yet.

I’d pulled him from his playdate with his friend Ralph but had a second one lined up for him with his friend, Chuck so we hightailed it back to the UWS, where we promptly found ourselves in the middle of another street fair.

Now, I still gotta tell you what the quest was for in the first place, but I felt that deserves an entry all its own.

Until then, here are some more pics.

Good god, I have a huge head…

Location: a playground with the kid, typing furiously on my laptop
Mood: beat or coming down with something
Music: I know we’re onto something good (Spotify)

We’re on a quest, kid – Pt 1

All over the city

Me: You gotta leave Ralph’s place a bit early today.
Him: Why?
Me: Cause we’re on a quest, kid!

Early this past weekend, I grabbed the kid from his friend’s place, and we hightailed it down to Wall Street to catch a ferry.

Except for the Staten Island Ferry and the one to Govenor’s Island, I’m not really a ferry person.

But the kid is, and I definitely see the appeal.

We stopped off first at Atlantic Ave /BBP Pier 6…

…before ending up at Red Hook.

A cruise ship had just pulled in.

But we were in search of some loot.

I’d been to Red Hook a few times in the past; where we needed to be was going to be about 100 minutes from my pad by train and bus but with the ferry, it took less than half that time – maybe 45 minutes?

Where I needed to be was only an 8-minute walk from the pier.

Walking there, I passed these building and realized that I’d been there before – it’d taken me some two hours to get there from my apartment in the past; this was waaaaay before there was even a ferry service there.

Him: Why are we stopping?
Me: I’ve been here before. Years ago. When you mama was still here.

Like I always say, I keep running into old ghosts

I got what we needed to get so we started to head back to the city for the next leg of our quest.

I’ll tell you what we went to Red Hook for in another entry.

Him: I’m hungry…

But we had to stop for food first.

Him: I want an egg sandwich.
Me: Not for $12!
Him: The chocolate croissant is $5.
Me: (dammit) Fiiiine…

There’s something humbling about being had by a seven-year-old.

We made it back to the pier as the ship was filling up with people…

…but the kid was pretty absorbed by the fact that the floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy were so high.

Me: Yup! Crazy, right?
Him: (shaking head) Crazy…

We still had more places to be, but I’ll tell you about that in the next entry.

Location: on top of my windowsill with the Firecracker, installing insulation
Mood: seriously exhausted
Music: stop the ship from sinking, let me drag you back to shore (Spotify)

Travelogue: Mexico 2023 Pt 4 – Ruined Ruins

We almost got stranded in Mexico

There were a lotta fun activities on the ship for the kids but every so often – besides eating and catching up on some reading – there was something that I really liked.

Like the baby race.

I’m honestly embarrassed how hard I laughed at it all.

And, while the food wasn’t quite as good as I had on the NCL and Celebrity ships I had in the past, did manage to eat my weight in shrimp and snow crab every day for lunch.

Her: You’re not eating anything else?
Me: God, why would I? Maybe a salad, though…

And, while we didn’t get a chance to get onto a glass-bottom boat, we did get to go on one excursion in Mexico in Cozumel…

…to see some Mayan ruins, which was incredibly cool.

For the most part, the trip was fun for everyone; no major fights or anything of the sort.

Honestly, after my past few relationships, it’s kinda shocking to just have a fight/argument-free vacation. It was…refreshing.

Which is not to say it was perfect.

The kid and I got into a tiff because he disobeyed me about something and put himself into a lotta danger AND we almost missed our bus getting back to the ship.

Which, of course, woulda ruined our trip entirely as that meant we might have missed the ships sailing home.

The tour operator was not messing around when he said he’d have to leave us behind if we weren’t back on the bus in time because they actually left a family of four that were sitting in front of us on the bus behind.

So, I read him the riot act once we got back to the ship.

Me: You gotta make better decisions, kid.
Him: OK, papa. I’m really sorry.

Honestly, that unpleasantness aside, I’m really not sure a kid could ask for more when it comes to a nice vacation.

Besides the parties, there were fireworks on the ship – twice!

Room service dessert…

…and a pirate night.

Ultimately, the kid didn’t wanna leave the ship and asked if we could come back again the following year.

Me: Well, if you pay for it, for sure. But we may need to wait a little while before we can come again.
Him: But we can do it again, someday?
Me: Sure. Someday, kid.

Him: Promise?
Me: Promise.

Back to the real world in the next entry, folks.

Location: Alphabet City, having some dumplings in a playground
Mood: fat
Music: I don’t wanna leave but I got places I wanna be (Spotify)
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Travelogue: Mexico 2023 Pt 3 – Hot Diggity Dog!

A pit stop in the Bahamas

Him: I wanna go to the Kid’s Club again.
Me: OK, I’ll bring you there after dinner.
Him: Hot Diggity Dog!

I’d cruised on a number of other ships before, but this was the first time on Disney.

Friend: You like cruising just because you can read? You can read anywhere!
Me: It’s not the same.

It’s true. There’s nothing like reading a book, looking up, and seeing the above.

Now, I get while cruising isn’t for everyone – the expanse of the sea can be overwhelming at times.

But I – very much – like the idea of being cut off from the internet and everyone else to do simple things like spend time with the kid and just…read.

Suppose we never leave our childhood too far behind.

While I did once go on a cruise that had a hot dog stand, this particular ship had a shawarma/gyro station, which was much preferred.

Him: What are you gonna have for dessert, papa?
Me: A gyro.
Him: (sighs) You’re so silly.

While that was a draw, the main appeal of it to me was the “Kid’s Club,” where the kids could go to have some fun with their peers, and I could have some time to myself and the Firecracker.

This was actually my dessert…more than once.

It was really awesome as a single parent, especially because – by the end of the trip – the boy had a deeper sense of autonomy.

Actually, we both had a deeper sense of his autonomy as he would go to many of the events himself or the Firecracker’s kid.

Considering that he’s gonna be able to self-dismiss at school in a couplea years, this was a good thing.

Still, it’s wild to see him grow up so quickly.

A little too quickly.

Me: Tomorrow, we have an excursion.
Him: Yeah, baby!
Me: Where are you learning this stuff?!

We stopped at the Bahamas where we were supposed to go on a glass-bottom boat but, like that time in St. Martin, it was cancelled because of the weather.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go, because that crazy storm Hillary that ended up slamming into California made itself, and its friends, known where we were in the Bahamas.

So, we just spent time on the beach.

Which, honestly, wasn’t a bad way to spend a day.

I cautioned the boy that he had to be covered in sunscreen or he’d get sunburned.

Evidently, I was so focused on him that I forgot – completely – to put it on myself. I got sunburned so badly that my face blistered.

Her: I burn all the time but… I’ve never seen anyone blister like that before.
Me: Well, it’s been a while since it happened to me but, here we are.

I wasn’t miserable for the remainder of the trip but I coulda been better.

The alcohol helped.

We ended up having to run to the ship because it started to thunderstorm but everything turned out fine.

Him: I can’t wait to get back home…I mean the ship!
Me: (laughing) I know what you meant, kid.

Location: on the phone with NYC, trying to understand alla my taxes
Mood: grumpy
Music: He must have somewhere that he’s going (Spotify)
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Travelogue: Mexico 2023 Pt 2 – Oh yeah, baby!

Mexico by way of Miami

The Firecracker’s kid and my kid didn’t know the other was going on the trip and we both managed to keep the surprise for a while.

The Firecracker told her kid before they reached the airport but I waited until the kid was there to tell him what was going on.

Him: I thought you said we were going on a Disney cruise with them next year.
Me: I did…but that doesn’t mean we can’t go this year as well.
Him: Hey…!

The truth is that it’s unlikely we can do something like this every year, what with budgeting and all, but it was nice to surprise him with something where he would have a friend.

Oh, this was the very first cruise where I didn’t leave outta NYC or NJ; we had to get to Miami first, hence, the airport.

The trip there was pretty uneventful, however, I had a bit of panic when I thought I forgot to pack all of his chargers

Turned out that TSA simply moved them to a different compartment of my obscenely large bookbag.

We spent the night in a Miami hotel room, but not before we had a quick dinner at Chili’s.

Me: I don’t want to risk us getting sick before the trip.
Her: Absolutely.

Our server was from Queens, NY, which was a nice touch.

The night was rough because we were right by a canal and people in yachts kept playing their obnoxiously loud dance music until at least 4AM.

I musta gotten no more than three hours of sleep.

We arrived on the ship the next day; the Firecracker and her kid had been on the exact ship before so they told my son everything they could about it.

The kid, being so young, still wasn’t convinced he’d have fun.

Him: There’s a water slide? ON the ship?
Me: Yup!
Him: Oh yeah, baby!

Told him that, if he first ate some fruit and/or vegetables, I’d be somewhat lenient with him on the trip when it came to his food choices.

I can pretty much sum up alla our food conversations like this:

Him: I want a burger and fries.
Me: OK, as long as you have a salad or some fruit first.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I think he musta had burgers for 9 outta 10 of the meals the whole trip.

I can’t say the same as we ate everything.

Seriously, everything.

But this is getting long so I’ll tell you more in the next entry.

Location: 5AM, cleaning up buckets of vomit because the kid ate something questionable
Mood: grossed-out
Music: Can we still pretend when the summer ends? (Spotify)
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Travelogue: Mexico 2023 Pt 1

First Class and With Children

Robert Benchley once said, “In America, there are two classes of travel: First class, and with children.”

Well, I recently traveled with two kids, and it wasn’t awful.

See, the boy’s seven, soon to be eight.

My MILs taken him across the country to see his cousins, my BIL, at least twice now, maybe three times? And my SIL’s taken him to a few beach vacations, while the ABFF’s taken him away to some upstate pool parties.

Me? Well, with the exception of heading to see my buddies in other states for BBQs, Legoland, and Great Wolf Lodge, I feel that I’ve not really taken him away any place significant in all these years.

When I first met the Firecracker, she mentioned that she and her kid were gonna head to a Disney Cruise.

Her: Have you ever been?
Me: Cruising? Yeah, I love cruising.
Her: What about a Disney cruise?
Me: Never had a kid when I went cruising a lot so, def not.
Her: You should do it. It’s great – the kids go to a private party, and you get some adult alone time.
Me: Sold!

Within a week of our meeting, she told me all the details about her cruise and invited me to maybe go with her.

Me: (laughing) What if we don’t get along and my kid and I book the trip?
Her: It’s big enough for us to completely avoid each other.
Me: These are compelling points.

I actually had a friend of my sister’s hold a cabin for me two doors down from her cabin. Because…well, hope springs eternal. And I had a good feeling about her.

Obvs if it didn’t work out, I woulda just cancelled the hold. But we clearly got along so well that I ended up telling her a few months after we were dating that I did that.

Her: You did? You’re coming?
Me: Looks that way.
Her: Yay! This will be great.
Me: That’s the thing with relationships: The difference between romantic and stalker is just whether or not the person’s into the romantic stalker.
Her: That is so true.

So, the kid and I took a trip to Miami – and some other places – with the Firecracker and her kid the other day.

I’ll tell you all about it.

Location: bed, waiting until noon to leave
Mood: headachy
Music: we talk about life but I wanna live it (Spotify)
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A Double-Date in NJ

A reason to live in the burbs

Me: I’m not sure I should head to the gym. I’ve got so much to do.
Her: Go. You missed so many days that it’ll be good to clear your head.
Me: OK.

Because I had COVID, I lost a solid week of projects that I was planning to do while the kid was away.

As soon as I felt better, I threw myself into my unchanged list of tasks to do.

One major thing I’d not done in years was to clean out all the kid’s old toys, clothes, and papers from the past two years. After three days, his room still just looked like it vomited up everything.

Now, the Firecracker and I were supposed to head out to see Pac and his girl for dinner but I didn’t think I could make it.

Pretty much told him we weren’t going to come because once I got back from the gym, it would be a solid six more hours of work that I needed to do to make it in time to toss everything for that week’s trash and recycling.

But when I got back, the Firecracker intercepted me.

Her: Hey, I wanna show you something.
Me: Do I have to? I’m so beat.
Her: Yeah. I think you’ll like it.

It turns out that, while I was gone she spent two hours cleaning up the kid’s room and did in two hours what woulda taken me four hours. So, I had two hours to wrap it all up.

Me: Well, it looks like we’ll be there tonight.
Pac: Great! Come by at 6PM.

So, after I did what I could with the kid’s room, off we went.

It was raining when we left but we arrived at Port Authority with just three minutes to spare for the next bus.

Her: If you navigate, I’ll buy tickets on my phone.
Me: Sold!

So, while she was face down on her phone buying tickets, I got us to the right gate in two minutes and 30 seconds. We arrived just moments before the bus pulled out.

Now, we thought we took the wrong bus because we didn’t know it first went south before heading north (Pac lives in the north part of NJ) but we ended up being right on time.

Pac and his girl were just great. Turns out that she has a green thumb, something I aspire to.

Me: These plants are just amazing! I never thought of having a succulent garden.
Him: She has them as a kinda meditative thing.
Me: Oh man, my plants just give me agita.

We brought some alcohol while they ordered a ton of fried Korean chix, which we demolished.

Afterward, we played a game of Exploding Kittens, which I lost and came in last…

…then a game of Spot It, which I lost and came in last.

Me: This stinks!
Firecracker: Oh, you’re just mad because you keep losing.
Me: Well, yeah…

We ended up just chatting until late.

Afterward, we grabbed a Lyft home.

Her: Your friends are really nice. We should invite them over some day.
Me: Sure. Pac’s by alla time but it’d be nice to have him and his girl over one day.
Her: Would you ever live out here in the burbs, Logan Lo?
Me: Maybe. If I had a good reason.
Her: (nodding) Maybe you’ll have one, someday.

Location: Paxibellum, shooting more Scenic Fights and getting more crotches tossed into my face
Mood: potentially seriously messed up. I’ll tell you later on if I am
Music: Its gettin hot in here (so hot) (Spotify)
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The 4th of July weekend, Pt 1

Making sense

The Firecracker and I ended up heading out to Gar and Wynn’s place in Long Island for the 4th of July weekend.

It was supposed to rain for most of the day, so we just spent time out at the pool for a bit.

Rick: Go down the slide, I’ll hold the raft there.
Me: I dunno…
Him: Don’t worry, I’ll make sure the raft is there when you come down.

That was somewhat true. I couldn’t keep my balance and kept falling into the pool.

The Firecracker didn’t have that issue.

I brought out Codenames, which I don’t think I’ve played in close to five years.

Me: Bale (for cotton).
Him: Bail? Oh, like in court?
Me: No…
Firecracker: No cheating!
Me: I’m just clarifying!
Her: Cheater!

I’d meant “bale” of cotton.

Afterward, we went out to a combo Chinese hot pot/Korean BBQ place.

The Firecracker never had hot pot before so I made her a sauce for it.

She was not a fan of the sauce I made.

Her: I’ll make my own.
Me: Rude!

However, she was a fan of the hot pot itself.

I essentially stuffed my face for 90 minutes straight.

Katsmw: You know Logan’s busy eating when he’s quiet for over an hour.
Me: (nods, continues to eat)

Rick thought it would be funny if he told the staff it was Gar’s birthday. Which he did and it was not.

It was late when we got back.

Her: I like your friends. They’re all successful and nice; that’s a good combo.
Me: I try to avoid loser friends that are mean.
Her: Makes sense.

Location: home, in bed with COVID for the 4th time
Mood: COVIDy
Music: We should be reckless, doing the things we know we shouldn’t do (Spotify)
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Last min trip to NJ, then Koreatown

Thinking about my dad with girlie drinks

In a last-minute decision, I decided to bring the boy out to NJ to spend the weekend with his grandparents so that the Firecracker and I could work on a personal project of ours.

To that end, I was scheduled to head out to NJ, drop the kid off, and come right back, for an approximately 180-minute, round-trip excursion.

Welp, my luck held ever to form. Because I dropped the kid off without issue but the return trip was delayed a solid hour, so my three-hour round trip took four hours.

Once I made it back into the city, I ran to the restaurant where the Firecracker was waiting for me.

Me: I’m so sorry I’m late.
Her: It’s fine. I’m just happy to see you.

We were gonna go to a restaurant that Pac had suggested to us but the wait on that was an hour, so we just ended up going to my regular joint, Jongro – the last time I was there was with my buddy Bridget.

The Firecracker actually wasn’t all that hungry cause I was so late so it was mostly me that ate all the food.

Even that wasn’t enough, so I ordered a pancake that feeds 2-3 people and ate almost alla that myself.

Afterward, we went to a rooftop bar called K-32, right across the street.

There were only a handful of other people there because it was supposed to rain (but didn’t) so it just me and her.

Since it was just us, I ordered my fave drinks: Oversweet girly drinks made of rum.

Me: Don’t judge me for my drink. I like them like I like my women: Sweet and with fruit. Wait…
Her: (shaking head and turning to the bartender) Can you do something to make it more manly? Like put a tool belt around it or something.
Bartender: (nods) I’ll fix ya up!

There were no umbrellas.

But there was a drink in a tiki mug.

Her: Hey, these are like the mugs at your place.
Me: Yeah. They’re tiki mugs. They’re my fathers’.

We struck up a conversation with the bartender and the waiter and got onto the topic of Scenic Fights.

Me: You should subscribe.
Waiter: Wait, Scenic Fights? I’m already a subscriber!

Turns out he was already a fan and that’s why he thought I looked familiar.

The bartender was young and, because it was just the two of us, really spent a lotta time getting the drinks just right.

We actually left as the bar started filling up and were home and in bed by 11PM.

Location: 8:15 PM, with the kid, catching a train at Penn Station
Mood: hungry
Music: Now my dark days don’t phase me even a little bit (Spotify)
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A trip to the Great Wolf Lodge

Getting away from the smokey City

As my dumb luck would have it, a few months ago, I randomly decided to schedule a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos for this past Thursday and Friday with the Firecracker, the Surgeon and his wife, plus another lawyer and his kid.

Well, it was more that the Firecracker is a huge, huge fan of theme parks.

Her: What if the air’s worse up there?
Me: Welp, we’re about to find out.

This worked out amazingly because we were able to leave the city and spend the next two days indoors at a water park with climate control.

So, we went from this…

…to this…

…and this.

The kids all had a blast…

…although the adults also had fun.

Gotta say, I was pretty high-strung when we first got there because I really wanted him to wear a floatation vest but the kid was 100% against the idea.

Ultimately the Surgeon told me to relax because there were lifeguards everywhere. Then he bought drinks for everyone.

Me: Well, if you’re sure…
Him: Look, Logan, there are five adults here. Combined, we would be one good parent. And, really, that’s all you need.

Honestly, the only negative about the trip was that the food was pretty awful (health-wise) and expensive.

Although I tried my best to counteract it for myself; the kid was all-in for the junk food, though.

We had alla these plans to either head out to get tacos or eat at the nice restaurant in the park but we were all so beat from the day that we just ordered food from the same place as lunch and had it outside our hotel rooms.

Except with a lotta alcohol.

The next morning’s food choices weren’t much better…

…although I did make the kid have some peanut butter to counteract some of it all.

The boy and his friends were probably in the water for six or seven hours the first day and at least three or four hours the second day.

Unfortunately, one of the Surgeon’s kids had cut her toe on something sharp in the water so they left early.

That meant that the kid and the Firecracker’s kid got to do other things.

The kids didn’t wanna leave but the Firecracker and I were both beyond beat.

Heading home, we came pretty close to running outta gas but made it to a gas station just in time.

By the time we got home, the air had pretty much returned to normal and we had ourselves a typical rest-of-the-weekend.

The kids had a blast, but I’m not sure I’m really a theme park kinda guy.

Then again, I suppose that this is all part of the job of being a parent.

Him: Thanks for bringing me to the Great Wolf Lodge, papa!
Me: Did you have fun?
Him: YEAH!! Did you?
Me: (laughs) Sure. But all I really care about is that you had a good time, kiddo.
Him: I did, I did!

Location: home, wondering if I should have more of that green cake
Mood: exhausted
Music: got a lot of water in my brain, I got no common sense (Spotify)
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