My trip home on Friday appeared doomed from the start. First, I had to wait 10 minutes for an elevator (normally the service is nearly instantaneous) because the marketing department was filming something in two of the three elevators and moving equipment in the third. Late on a Friday afternoon. What were they thinking? Then my car service didn’t show. I got the notification that they’d arrived 45 minutes after they were supposed to be there. I’d long since grabbed a cab to the airport. But thanks to the U.N. General Assembly, which is snarling traffic all over town, we couldn’t even get to the Midtown Tunnel, which is how we usually go, and had to go the long way around. By the time I finally got to the airport, I would have had 15 minutes to get through security and to the gate before the plane left. Fortunately the flight was delayed for an hour and a half, so no problem. I told AJ and Mr. Spy to stay home and texted car service. They’d been going to pick me up at the airport so we could go out to dinner. Now it was looking like I’d be lucky to make it home before AJ went to bed. Did I mention that it had been pouring down rain all day, I was soaking wet, and the sole was starting to come off my sodden left boot?
I sat down in the airport to check my email and learned that what we thought was a really good, low price for our home is now being undercut by $50,000 by not one but two other houses in the neighborhood of similar size. If we try to match, we’ll lose everything and then some — the price would be 2/3 of what we paid for it (and at the time, it was seriously under market value). This is a very depressing time to try to move. Equally depressing: the exorbitant rents on the other end of the process. I may be commuting forever.
But then the flight home turned out to be interesting. I am not usually one to start up conversations on planes, but when the guy who sat next to me was carrying this book, I had to ask about it. It’s one I’ve been wanting to read and it’s not one you see people carrying around every day. He turned out to be the editor-in-chief of a well known web-based music publication named after a farm implement. We talked shop all the way to Chicago.
And it was nice to be home. AJ was still awake and he talked me ear off while I had dinner.
Saturday morning, AJ’s football team played on the field of the local junior high, which meant a) that I didn’t have to get up at what my friend S calls “the crack of butt,” and b) they announced the game like real games. Because for some reason, the Jr. High field has a press box, they get high school kids to call the games there. There are cheerleaders too. And someone barbecuing hamburgers outside the stands. It’s fun. Even more fun was the game. AJ played amazingly well, and I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother. When we walked through parking lot after the game, his teammates were leaning out the windows of their cars chanting “M.V.P.! M.V.P.!” Rather than rely on my untrained attempt at describing the game, I’ll give you my brother-in-law’s take on it. He actually wrote this down on a piece of paper while sitting at my kitchen table afterwards, while we all rehashed AJ’s moment of glory:
Long punt return (changed complexion of game)
Stripped runner causing fumble which he recovered
Made game-winning safety
Threw key block on touchdown run
Three tackles for loss
Shrugged off devastating injury
AJ’s team wins 8-7
The devastating injury was a hard helmet to his left hipbone. Even padded, that hurts, especially since he already had a bruise there from practice.
It was an exciting game. The whole team played well. But it was AJ’s name we were hearing over and over again over the loudspeakers. After the game, several parents of his teammates came up to us independently of each other and said, “Don’t take him to New York again!” Because he missed a game last week and they lost.
And now I’ve got to clean the house for people who will probably not come and look at it. And take AJ to get a haircut and listen to him complain about it all the way there and listen to him complain about the fact that I won’t buy him a doughnut (the place is next to a doughnut shop) all the way home. But still, it’s nice being home.