Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekend in Albany

It took a lot of effort to get up to Albany but we finally made it up there.... Sean and Wendy had rented a Zip Car van to leave on Friday evening to take us, Wendy's mom, and our friend Lisa up to Albany for Wendy's bridal shower weekend in Albany. Unfortunately, S got a phone call at work on Friday afternoon that the van got a flat tire, and it had to be taken in to get repaired, and then inspected. After any car issues, their policy is to keep the cars for a couple days to make a full body inspection to ensure that nothing else was affected. Good policy, but bad for us, since they supposedly didn't have any other vans/large cars for us.

They finally found an available SUV, but it was in Astoria, Queens. They rejected Sean's request to have them pay for the car service for all of us to go out to Queens from their apartment in Williamsburg, so he kept searching for a vehicle either close to his work, or at least closer to the apartment. Nothing came up, so he called back after a few minutes to reserve the SUV in Queens. But by that time, it had already been reserved!

So he finally just booked a small car at the lot by their apartment and settled for the fact that 5 of us plus all of Wendy's mother's luggage would have to squeeze into the little car. He went to the lot on the way home from work and explained to the staff about our situation- they unsuccessfully tried looking for more cars, but it was a Friday afternoon in NYC in the middle of the summer... So he started to drive the little car out of the lot, when his cell phone rang, and the Zip Car representative alerted him to not leave the lot because the NYPD thought the car was stolen!?! ...and then his phone died...

Wendy, her mom, and I were all ready and packed, loaded up with sandwiches, drinks, snacks for the car ride, but we had to settle in and search for alternate ways of getting upstate! We looked into planes (which would need a couple layovers in DC or Chicago), trains, and buses. Since we didn't know for sure if ZipCar would reimburse us for our travel expenses, we didn't want to go out of pocket too much, so we settled for taking the bus up the next morning at 7am, and taking the Amtrak back on Sunday afternoon. By this point, it was about 10pm, so I just ended up staying over at their apartment. Hooray, hot shower for the 1st time in a week!!! (bathroom renovation still going on)

The next morning, we groggily woke up at 5:30am, showered, and headed out to Penn Station/ Madison Square Garden. There were hundreds of people out there already, but no organization whatsoever. I guess there were buses that were leaving every 15 minutes to Philly, DC, Boston, etc., but we were there so early that our 7am to Albany line wasn't even formed. Finally a guy from the bus company came out and started shouting at everyone to form lines. It was fairly chaotic, but he got most of us loaded on the bus when we heard the bus driver tell him that the bus was out of gas, and another bus was coming, so he should stop loading us on! Uh.... what?!? the bus guy was like, I don't care- get these people and their stuff on the bus- I need them off the sidewalk. When the next bus comes, we'll unload and reload them again! The new bus came, and thankfully it was a smooth transition although we left about an hour later than we were supposed to. Then we sat in traffic for another half hour trying to get out of Manhattan!

Finally got to Albany a couple hours later, quickly showered, drank some coffee, and headed out for Wendy's bridal shower/luncheon at Beth's house (Sean's parents' friend). Lisa and I immediately started putting together fruit kebabs and helping her set out drinks, etc. Beth and Sean's mom planned a beautiful shower in her garden with lots of their friends, many of whom were unfortunately unable to make it out to Hawaii for the wedding. It was great to meet everyone, and especially to hang out with Sean's brother Ben, and his super cool and crafty girlfriend, Martha.

Lisa, Wendy, and me at the shower

After the shower, we changed and headed out to see the Tri-City Valleycats host the Brooklyn Cyclones (Minor League Baseball). It was so fun and wholesome- and everything was so cheap! and $2 hot dogs! and the Cyclones smoked the Valleycats 8-0! and then like the world's longest fireworks show! and there was a lightning storm all around us all night, but the rain didn't come down until we were walking to the car at the end of the night... it was an awesome day.
The clouds were so surreal right before the storm

We were staying at a nearby Marriott Hotel, and boy, was I happy to enjoy another hot shower! It was a weekend of showers!! Bridal shower, rain showers, and hot showers! woohoo!

The next day we headed back to Sean's parents house for brunch. His dad had prepared a huge spread, including a couple of huge delicious frittatas made with homegrown zucchini and herbs, roasted potatoes, leftover fruit from the shower, and a couple loaves of banana and zucchini bread. Yum.

Ben and Martha headed up to the Open House Day at the Saratoga Springs Racetrack and we thought that was a great idea, so we also went up. It was hot and sunny, but very appropriate for the event- and since it was Open House, admission was free and there was no strict dress code or anything. We didn't have too much time since we had to catch the train back to NYC that afternoon, so we watched a couple of races and walked around the grounds. So Americana!
The happy couple!

Yay for Wendy and Sean!

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