06 August 2010

Who Knew New Jersey Was So Nice?

When we were in New York City (which I like to say the way the old ladies did on those old Pace Picante salsa commercials), Matt and I stayed in a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side.  It was pretty cool because it was only about six blocks from Central Park, and Matt and I enjoyed being pretend New Yorkers for a couple of days.

And because we had a small (very small!) kitchen in the apartment, we thought it wise to bring a bag of pantry staples.  Matt and I don't normally eat out all that much in our regular life (too expensive and too bad for us), and by Wednesday of last week, day four of vacation, I felt like a big swollen sack of salt and grease because we'd eaten out for almost every meal.  Enter the pantry staples.  I really loved having the kitchen because it allowed us to eat one of our very favorite simple meals, pasta with butter and parmesan cheese, not just once, but twice that day.  So we saved between $80-100, and I found myself one step closer to having my wedding rings fit again.

We had to check out of the apartment on Thursday morning, drive across town (six miles and an hour and a half) to Brooklyn to drop our stuff off at Best Friend's "apartment" before heading to the Mets game.  We returned there after the game, and got to hang out with Best Friend and his good friend Kensie for a couple of hours before leaving the city life.

Let me tell you something about Best Friend.  He's completely in his element in Brooklyn.  He and his friend started their own farm, A Moveable Garden, where they grow organic produce and then sell it to the fancy restaurants around the city.  Best Friend moved to New York and became a farmer.  And he and Kensie, who have been friends for years and years and years, are essentially an old married couple now.  They live together in Kensie's studio space (Kensie is an artist, and is apparently quite good. I know nothing about art.), give each other tattoos when they get bored (Seriously.  Matt says they both look like they go the the funniest, most ironic prison.), and cook amazing meals on a hot plate.  They sleep on cots and don't have air conditioning.  And you know what?  I've never seen them happier. 

(left, Best Friend.  right, Kensie.  I stole this from Best Friend's Facebook.)

And then we left for our next destination, our friend Trina's house in the country in New Jersey.  We decided to leave New York at 5:30 p.m. via the Holland Tunnel, which took approximately 2 hours, after that is was only another hour to Trina's house. I don't know that we'd ever been so happy to see corn fields or to drive on quiet country roads as we were that day.  Trina's house was peaceful and nice, and Missy joined us the next evening.  It was great to just sit around and catch up with old friends. 

And there was Jonas, Trina's 6-month old Chocolate Lab.  Matt and I had been going through dog withdrawal, and we immediately fell in love with Jonas. 

Jonas also has a dog cousin named Toby.  Toby is perhaps the fattest dog I've ever seen in real life.

Both dogs had great personalities (though we were partial to Jonas), and it warmed my heart to be able to cuddle with a pup after a few days without my dogson Mitchell. 

Our time in Jersey was quiet and relaxed, but fun.  We ate cheeseburgers and hot dogs and talked and laughed and played Apples to Apples and basically just enjoyed being reunited with our old friends, Missy and Trina. 

Missy was supposed to introduce us to her new boyfriend Derek, but he was conveniently busy that night (read: she has invented this Derek).  The next day she disappeared for a while, and then showed up at Applebees with a very nice young man who claimed that his name was Derek.  Yeah, okay.  Nice try, Missy.

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