Monday, November 14, 2005

Garden State Extravaganza

I decided that I’m going to refer to my husband as “M” from now on, because typing “my husband” or “hubby” takes too long. And I’ve never really liked the word hubby anyhow, as it seems like a term that a Stepford wife would use. Is there any truth to that suspicion?

When M was growing up, the whole family would take off for New Jersey every year at Christmas time. M mostly grew up in Oyster Bay, Long Island, but most of his relatives are in New Jersey. M’s brother has been known to call this family trip “The Magical Misery Tour.”

From what I can gather these tours involved lots of driving, lots of Italian food, lots of sleeping on the floor and in the car, and loads of family fun. I think there were many parts that my husband liked, but let’s put it this way: as soon as he was old enough to opt out of family trips, he did. ;-)

M has a very large family with lots of cousins and aunts and uncles, and lots of those “once-removed” and “twice-removed” relations, too. His older brother got married soon after we started dating and I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of names I had to try to remember. If you didn’t know, the marriage of the oldest son in an Italian family is a big deal, so this was a HUGE wedding and all I remember is that I cut my spaghetti with a knife during dinner and gasps arose from all sides of the table. Now I know—you never cut the pasta. You use a big spoon to help twirl the long strands on your fork.

This weekend I finally got to participate in a New Jersey whirlwind tour. You may remember that M’s grandfather died right before we went to Italy in September, and we weren’t able to attend the funeral. So we decided that we would drive to Jersey to visit his grandmother and other assorted relatives who live all up and down the glorious New Jersey Turnpike. So M and I, along with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and the sister-in-law's boyfriend all piled into a car early Saturday morning and headed north.

We were all over the map, from the very top of Jersey to the south, hitting five households altogether. When we were up in northern NJ we went to a big party in a beautiful old Victorian house. Let’s see if I can remember: it belongs to M’s grandmother’s nephew’s wife. I think. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love old houses and very much want to live in one someday, so I was utterly awestruck when we first walked in. By the end of the night I was weeping and hugging the original wood banister, but M sternly told me that NO, WE COULD NOT MOVE IN. But it was a lovely old house and I was very sad that it didn’t belong to me.

At the party there was also the sweetest, most adorable chocolate-colored poodle puppy that was only 8 weeks old. I cuddled and kissed him until the owner became suspicious and made up some excuse about having to take him out to the bathroom. I’m telling you, if I’m ever sick in the hospital, please sneak in a basket full of puppies and I’m sure my health will improve right away. There is nothing better than a soft, sweet puppy.

After the party we drove over two hours south to New Egypt. I had never heard of that place before, and I am disappointed to report that I did not see a single camel while we were there, nor did it look especially “new”. We spent the night (and not on the floor, in a real bed! Being married and not twelve years old has a few advantages) and then drove to Toms River, where we spent Sunday afternoon. We finally got home around 7:30 last night, after sitting in the requisite DC area traffic.


NEW JERSEY BATHROOM REPORT: I have to say, I continue to be impressed by the facilities at the rest stops on the turnpike. There were fresh roses by all the sinks! And minimal line waiting. I would have given it a perfect ten, but there was that one stall with the door that wouldn’t close all the way…



Blogger Lisa said...

You CUT your spaghetti?!

I may have to take you off my bloglist.


2:58 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I know. I thought I was going to be swimming with the fishes that night. ;-)

4:38 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

Fresh roses! Wow. I'm impressed :)

I agree, "hubby" has a Stepford feeling about it. I wish my hubby was old enough to opt out of family trips ;)

Couldn't agree more about "sweet, soft puppies." Told D just the other day that I have a fantasy of being in a room filled with puppies, and just patting them for hours.

I guess that's kind of weird. :)

5:20 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Bearette- I don't think that's weird at all. One of the happiest times in my life was when my childhood dog had 8 puppies. They lived in my bathtub while they were small. ;-) I rushed home from school every day to play with them.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Frema said...

Wow, I haven't taken a road trip in ages, and I've never been to New Jersey. I'm jealous. :)

11:52 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

That is so awesome! Before I was born, my family had a golden retriever that had 10 puppies. There are pictures of them sleeping in a pile and tucked into Christmas stockings ;)

9:34 PM  

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