On Tuesday it was our second wedding anniversary.
To celebrate I bought J-man a cactus pot and called it Grant against his will (Joel’s will that is. The cactus pot has no will, actually). This family of cactii could symbolise many things about being married for two years.
– I am the perky red-headed cactus and J-man is the manly yellow-headed cactus. The prickly green cactus is life poking us in the butts.
– Just as a cactus needs little water, our love needs little … water?
– We have been married so long that neither of us bothers doing anything about our respective whiskers. Man, check out my spiky body spikes!
– If there was a drought (of love) you could break us open and still find water (love).
– We both like to tickle each other’s areoles.
– We will have little prickly babies or alternatively, a really tall, fat son.
OK, so everything above looks like it’s been translated from Mandarin by a two-year-old. I bought J-man a cactii pot because when we walked past the shop selling the cactii pot a little while ago, he said he wanted the cactii pot. You wanna know what love is? That’s it. Listening to your husband when he says he wants a cactii pot and then buying a cactiii pot for him later.
Also we needed a sibling for Admiral Fitzwallace, who was named during the peak of our West Wing viewing.
Love you my little Opuntia (Joel. You can’t feel love for a cactus, actually).
We blindly pointed to Norwalk, Connecticut on a map and went there. Our hotel was a run down heap, but at reception old New York dames with Gold Amex cards haggled with the girl at the desk over prices and conditions. A mother who had just taken her little daughter to compete in a beauty pageant was yelling at the receptionist, upset that the hotel didn’t have an indoor pool even though the website said it did (it didn’t).
The main street had a weird mix of things – a burlesque-style tequila bar, a sports bar, a cigar factory, a few homewares shops and a “psychic tea room”. J-man and I decided it would be fun to visit the tea room in the morning. It was closed when we got there so we had breakfast at a cafe, where young wait staff were employed to come to your table and tell you your coffee was ready but not bring it to you.
When we walked into the tea room (no tea in sight) a man was loudly asking for advice about his broken relationship. We tried to distract ourselves by pretending to be interested in crystals and dreamcatchers scatted around the room. A well-thumbed book about living life like Oprah was on display on a table.
J-man asked if he and I could have palm readings, while our friend Bron decided to sit it out. J-man was taken into a velvety tent by a warm and friendly woman. I was so willing to drop my cynicism and play along but the illusion was ruined when I was led to a wonky mosaic-covered table by a young woman who seemed to be a fortune-telling intern. She was obviously nervous and was peering at me like she was trying to see the backs of my eyeballs.
This is what she told me while stroking my sweaty hand:
“You are married. He is your soul mate.”
“You are very spiritual.”
“You will have three children.”
“Someone in your family will get sick, but they won’t die.”
“You have built up walls. You need to let people back into your life.”
[At this moment Bron dropped something hard on the wooden floor.]
“Do you like your job? You should continue with the same career you have now.”
If she could read my mind, this is what she would have heard:
“You are looking at my left hand, the one with my wedding ring on it. And do you mean sole mate? Because yes.”
“No, no I am not.”
“Well, yeah. They have not found a cure for the common cold.”
“They do not deserve to be let back into my fortress of awesome.”
“Thanks dude. That’s pretty sound advice.”
And obviously J-man is going to find some other wife because he was told he would father twins. Ouch.
This is how you do New York, baby!
Arrive. Take the subway from JFK to Brooklyn, put your bags down, slap on some Lady Speedstick and hit the town. Go to Roberta’s for pizza and beer (served in jars!). High on jetlag, don’t speak much to your husband and stare into space.
Day One. Call in that favour with Mayor Bloomberg and have him arrange a welcoming parade for you. Agree to share your glory with the Super Bowl champions.
Day two. Go to Cowgirl in the West Village and commence your three week challenge to become a human corn chip. Salsa optional.
Day three. Go to the Comedy Cellar. I can’t guarantee that Louis CK will show up. Or can I?
Day four. Meet up with some of your best buds and go Alec Baldwin hunting at 30 Rock. Synchronise a dance to Adele’s Someone Like You with your husband as you glide on the ice.
Day five. Ensure your farts really do smell like roses and unicorns by consuming a rose petal donut from Doughnut Plant.
Day six. Go to a sports bar called Professor Thom’s and insist they change the channel to the Grammys. Drink a bunch of Bud Lites and commentate.
Day seven. When the den of iniquity that is New York City starts to become too much, escape somewhere south and cleanse your black soul. Somewhere simple like the Trump Taj Mahal casino hotel in Atlantic City.
Day eight. Defy all understanding of science, physics and astrology by driving your hire car onto a boat. Arrive in Delaware and visit Dogfish Head brewery. Watch husband almost wizz himself when he sees his beer hero. Eat a huge meal at the Dogfish Head brew pub and have cheese induced nightmares. (Below is the boat.)
Day nine. Go to Washington DC. As a consummate traveller, show distain upon your second viewing of the White House and that god awful Lincoln memorial and go for chocolatey cocktails with the interns instead.
Day ten. Continue your pilgrimage deep into the heart of Amish country in Pennsylvania. Check out weird-ass shoes in an antiques shop in Gettysburg.
Day eleven. Take a ride in a buggy with an Amish man named Ben and his horses Soldier and Sarge in Intercourse. A delightful boy from New Jersey will ask Ben “How do horses show love?”, followed closely by “What happens if they break wind?”. An excellent insight into both the mysteries of horses and modern marriage. Reward yourself with those famous Amish delicacies – chocolate covered chips!
Day twelve. Go to Philadelphia’s Museum of Art, which is showing a large collection of Van Gogh works. Ignore culturally significant art and grope a Rocky statue instead.
Day thirteen. Go to Old Greenwich, Connecticut. You guys, this is where the 1% and their French bulldogs live.
Day fourteen. After returning to New York, topple the city and claim the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza as your throne.
Day fifteen. Further help fund Donald Trump’s important work of, ah, whatever it is he does by going ice skating on his rink in Central Park for a small fee of what feels like $50 and your first born.
Day sixteen. Visit MoMA. Take pictures of artworks because they’re always so interesting to look at later.
Day seventeen. Walk over the Manhattan Bridge and admire inspired street art.
Day eighteen. Go to Tom’s Restaurant in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, for a Wonder Years-style eating experience. Take photos while a group of NYPD detectives attempt to duck out of frame.
Day nineteen. Mark your final weekend in New York with brunch at Buttermilk Channel, where the food is amazing and the Bellinis are free (free!).
Day twenty. Rediscover your love of Tex Mex potato chips while watching the Oscars at a bar. Order more for you shalt never look like Emma Stone.
Day twenty one. Go to Central Park before your flight and cry into your ridiculous coat.