In the beginning…

I have been coming to New York City on a regular basis for the past year.  With each visit, I learn more and more about the city.  As most of my family and friends know, I am in love with this city, and my favorite thing is to NOT be a tourist.  With each trip, I get more savvy.  It’s a process, to be sure.  But it had an interesting beginning.  Here’s the story of the trip that started it all, and how it began:

I am house/dog/cat-sitting for my cousin D and his wife M, who live in Manhattan. I was staying in a hotel in Midtown until this morning.

Funny story about getting here… the cab that picked me up was a van, and was driven by an Indian man with a long rug on the floor in front of the back seat. When I stepped up to get in, the rug slid forward, so I literally slid in and ended up lying on the floor in front of the back seat with my head hanging out of the side of the van. The bellman was supporting my head and trying to help, but I was laughing so hard it was a lost cause.
Eventually I scrambled onto the seat, but in the process, I had poured my entire cup of coffee down the front of my shirt.

When we arrived in Chelsea (the neighborhood that is to be my home for the next 17 days), I realized I had forgotten about the street being closed during the day, so the driver dropped me off at the corner, along with my 50-lb suitcase, a carry-on suitcase, an oversized purse, an empty (and dripping) coffee cup, and a backpack full of shoes.

I dragged my bags over the turn lane, across the bike lane and up over the curb onto the sidewalk one at a time. I tossed the coffee cup in the nearest trash can (thank you NYC!), and headed like a pack-mule (slowly and not-too-gracefully) up the street, past construction workers, scaffolding, and an uncovered hole in the sidewalk leading to who-knows-where, and then carried the bags one at a time up the front steps, into the foyer, into the hallway, and then into the apartment.

By this time I was talking to myself and laughing so hard that the neighbor upstairs must have thought I was nuts!  I realized then that I had not properly trained for this event.

I was greeted warmly by both Cholula and Edgar, and immediately took Cholula downstairs for a walk.

Since both D and M had told me that she’s not really into walking, I didn’t bother to change my shirt or grab my purse. I figured we would head down the steps, take care of business, and back inside to change clothes.

What I wasn’t expecting was Cholula taking off on a full run…up the street, across the crosswalk, and down 9th Avenue, until she came to an abrupt halt. When I looked up, I realized she had brought me to the pet store!

She stared inside, and then back up at me. I pushed on the door, and it didn’t budge. Checked the sign…not open till 11. I apologized to Lula, who continued to gaze longingly into the store.

I turned to head back, and she would not move. At. All. This is when I discovered exactly how strong a French Bulldog is! The 45-second run TO the store, turned into a 15 minute drag home FROM the store. She finally gave up and refused to move altogether, so I gave up and carried her the rest of the way. I also discovered how much a French Bulldog weighs!

As I climbed the stairs, covered in coffee and carrying Cholula, I was still laughing and talking to myself.

Both Edgar and Lula talked me into giving them treats in exchange for their silence regarding my crazy first morning.

As the three of us are lounging on the couch, one of them has farted. Three times. I’m pretty sure the kids at the school across the street are being evacuated.