As I sit here, the kids in bed, the TV creating background noise, I think about the last 10 years, how they started… and how they will end.
On this day, at this time, 10 years ago I was sitting at the Dalt’s bar with one of my best friends discussing our trip to New York which we would be leaving on tomorrow. Our co-workers were with us, they were trying to convince us not to go, between the Y2K fears and threats of terrorism against NYC everyone was sure we would not return.
True to form, we had a few drinks before the car picked us up to go to the airport, I didn’t really remember packing, but I ended up with everything I needed. When we got to the airport we had a few “doubles for a dollar more”, we were flying the red eye, we were pretty “happy” when we boarded the plane, the flight attendants were actually mildly amused by us (It was a different time), and they didn’t have much to do anyway, there were maybe 40 of us on the whole flight… I had been on empty flights like that to Vegas before, but never across the country, it was pretty weird. At some point I fell asleep and awoke in New York at about 6a. We grabbed a cab and headed to Times Square where we would be staying, when we got there they were already celebrating, because of the whole year 2000 thing they were ringing in the new year in the tradition style of that time zone, so there was something exciting happening on the hour all day long.
We dropped our bags at the hotel and went to grab a bite to eat before we got ready for the night. It was pretty amazing just being in time square during the day, it is something I don’t think I’ll ever get to repeat in my lifetime. We walked around a little, hit a bar and went back to the hotel to rest and get ready.
At the time we were still really good friends with Carson Daly and were going to watch the ball drop from the TRL studios, we had to arrive early, security was tight. In fact, we were held up at the screening point in the MTV building because Puff Daddy’s security (He was still Puff Daddy then) had guns on them and MTV’s security would not let them enter with them. We finally got up to the studio and in true television form it was hurry up and wait. There was a nervous excitement in the crowd as we stood at the window and looked over the tens of thousands of people below, what everyone had been warning for weeks was in the backs of our minds… And then it happened, BANG!!! The room went silent, and then everyone laughed, a light bulb had burst… That seemed to relieve the tension, and from that point on it was one of the best nights/mornings/next afternoons/ into the next nights I have ever had.
That Long weekend kicked off a pretty good run for me, things really started to go my way in the early part of the decade. Great job, I married a woman I really loved and there was a bright future for me.
Today, Dec 29th, 2009 I spent the day with my children. We awoke and did one of our favorite things, walk to Panera and have breakfast. It was just the three of us, we ordered our regular, sat inside by the window because it was too cool to sit where we like on the patio. Lucy refilled my ice tea, making sure I had the 6 year old approved number of lemon wedges in it (which is roughly 10, in case you wondered). Bing pointed out the random P.T. Cruiser or Mini Cooper that passed… On a good morning we’ll see a Smart Car or a Limo!
When we were done, Lucy and Bing took there respective seats in the double stroller and we started out on our way to walk some errands. First was the post office, so I could mail some bills… It’s always the same drill, I ask Lucy if she wants to hold the letters I have to mail, She says “yes” and then proceeds to ask if she can open them, when I say no, she then asks why not and I explain how the whole bill thing works. She hands them to the lady at the post office, I pay and Bing asks if I can pick him up so he can look through the glass, which I always do… and he is always fairly underwhelmed at the action behind the bullet-proof glass.
Next we trek to Target, it’s about a mile away, so we have lots to look at a discuss… and who knows what random cars we’ll see along the way, today we walked past the Ford dealership, Bing is partial to Mustangs, so this was a treat.
At Target, which was a mad house by the way, apparently people lose their minds as soon as Christmas crap is marked 50% off, the kids had some Christmas money to spend and I needed Polka Dot Diapies (As Bing likes to call them). I cut a deal with the kids, half their money for cloths and the other for toys… They both did a great job, I was very proud.
Our walk home was equally as interesting, things to see and discuss, only on the return trip we were sporting a fully packed stroller… The box of polka dot diapies riding proudly on top of the canopy. When we arrived to our little apartment it was time to play with our toys and have some lunch. It was sometime after Lucy complaining that Bing took her toy and Bing requesting a second peanut butter sandwich that we realized “Baby” was missing. For those of you not in the know, Baby is Bing’s blanket that he could not fathom living without. Baby is a monkey wearing a red beret with long arms and a blanket body…Whenever Baby is missing Bing will tell you “Baby can’t walk away, she doesn’t have legs”, and he’s right. We scoured the apartment, but Baby was no where to be found, so it was time to backtrack. We grabbed the stroller, Lucy gathered her “doctor’s set” in case Baby required medical attention and we started back out. Not in the hallway, or in the elevator, nor the walkway out our building. We continued on our earlier path and about three blocks down I caught a glimpse of Baby’s red beret. There she was (Baby’s a girl), in a mud and trash filled gutter, having fallen out of the stroller when I told the kids we were crossing a big muddy patch and lift their legs. Lucy, not known for her beside manner, decided baby was way too disgusting to treat and vowed to give baby a proper exam after washing. Bing was a nervous wreck during the whole gentle cycle, but when Baby emerged clean he was over joyed and would not allow her a spin in the dryer.
Drama over, we went on with our evening, making dinner, watching Up and just hanging out together.
It was an amazing day, in a very different way from ten years ago, but still on par with being in Time square with countless people… Being with the right two people can be just as thrilling as a party of millions.
The decade has ended for me so differently than it started, I am not on my way up the ladder, but am actually below rock bottom, everyday checking to see how much drilling has been done and trying to figure out if I’ll ever be able to climb out?
10 years doesn’t seem like long, but in that time I have seen love turn to a lie, gone from making a good living to having to check my balance to see if I can afford bagels, bought and lost my own home and now, at almost, 40 have not been able to find a job for over a year and a half. But it all wasn’t bad, I have amazing friends and family that have stuck with me through the thick and then of the past decade, I have done and seen incredible things and most importantly, without a doubt, I have two of the greatest kids, who challenge, amaze, inspire and on occasion lose their “Baby’s”… And for that, 2000-2010 was the best ten years of my life.
Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
Rock on, Jack