The last time Jaime, Ava and I went into New York City was last June when we went to see Jaime’s class graduate from the 8th Grade. That happened to be the last day of a week’s worth of rain that caused the Susquehanna River to flood! Jaime and I wrote a few posts with pictures about that flooding. That day was a hard day for us, because we left early in the morning to make it into the city in time. The graduation went well and without incident. But then our car decided not to work (foreshadowing here), and we were stuck in New York a little longer than we had planned (I wanted to leave the city about 2pm to avoid the evening traffic—this was a Tuesday). We ate at a nice Italian restaurant in the Bronx while we waited for our car to be fixed. And then about 5pm we headed out. In New Jersey, we hit upon bumper to bumper traffic that lasts a whole FIFTEEN MILES. This was a warm day, not overly hot, however, our car did not have functioning air conditioning, and as such, Ava, situated in the back, was uncomfortable. Even with the windows down, I could never get enough current going through to keep her cool. Well, we finally reached the problem. The freaking state of New Jersey was fixing a bridge! At 5pm on Highway 80 on a weeknight! Oh I could have screamed at them! In any case, we get into Pennsylvania and it begins to rain. It had rained over eastern Pennsylvania for about a week. This evening was no different. Very hard rain coming down. We get into Bloomsburg and find the town flooded. We are told that we might actually have to evacuate our apartment because they were predicting the river would crest at 38 feet, about 20 feet or so above floodstage. It ended up being only about 29 feet, so our apartment was fine, but not other homes, as you can see in the pictures in the links above.
Anyways, that’s the back story to yesterday’s adventure in New York City. We haven’t been back since that wet, flooded day, because, well I’m not sure, but we certainly were weary of going on a long trip with Ava again. So this week we talked about heading into town for a day. The weather was to be nice, and we both missed the city. We vacillated on whether to go or not, finally deciding yesterday morning to just do it. We did. We had a warning yesterday morning that we might be having problems with our car at some point. When I put it in reverse, it took a lot of gas to get it moving.
The drive into the city was fine. There was some spectacular crash at the Delaware Gap. Some truck had done something to hit one of the light poles in the middle of the freeway, knocking it right down on the freeway, over the bridge itself. Yeah, 40 minute backup! The rest of the drive was good. We chose to go through the Lincoln Tunnel. Our plan was to head up to Penang on the West Side, eat lunch, and then do some walking. Well, as we get into the Lincoln Tunnel, our car would not go into any other gear than second. This was a problem. The fastest I could go was maybe 30mph. So on 10th ave, I pull over at the first spot I saw, which providentially happened to be next to a Midas. I go in to ask them for a funnel so I could put more tranny fluid in the transmission. Maybe the problem was there wasn’t enough fluid. That was not the problem though. I tried putting the car in reverse; nothing. We were stuck. Our car’s transmission seemed to be shot. And we’re now in New York City on a Saturday, when most shops are closed.
A guy at Midas, Peter, had a brother Eric, who worked uptown who just happened to work on transmissions, so we ask him if he could take a look at our car. Unfortunately, the earliest he could look at it was Monday. Doh! Now how do we get back to PA? Jaime is the Relief Society President and I am the executive secretary in our wards, and tomorrow was to be Ward Conference! Obviously we could miss it if need be. We had tons of friends in New York if we needed a place to stay, but we decided to find a rental car and bring it back later in the week after the car was fixed.
Finding a rental car ended up being a chore, like other things in New York City, rental car companies also closed early. Enterprise was closed. Avis had no vehicles left. Finally Hertz on 40th East was open and had vehicles aplenty. We took a taxi out there and got our car. They upgraded us to a Toyota Matrix because the one we reserved wasn’t yet available. Nice. This gave us a chance to “test drive” the Matrix, and we both loved it. We just might consider buying it at some point (later when we actually have money, now that we have to pay for a transmission repair!).
Finally, we got to Penang, this time on the East side. We ate our great dinners (Jaime always gets the Pineapple Chicken and I always get the Mango Chicken). Then we get some ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery and head on out.
Through all this, Ava was having a blast!
She loved sitting in her stroller watching everything go by. She loved playing with the lock lever in the taxi, playing with Daddy’s and Mommy’s food at Penang. And she slept most of the drive in both ways (to our relief).
Both Jaime and I had fun going back to the city, after so long
We’ve been considering moving back into the city at some point in our future. Jaime has applied to the NYC’s principal school (if she gets in, that’s going to be good money), and generally been missing the city. This trip has been good for both of us to realize that at this point in our lives, we are meant to be out here in the boondocks of Pennsylvania.