Monday, July 23, 2007

Across the water

Grandma is in town, so we're looking around for new things to try. While Q naps with Grandma inside, I go out to the park in front to watch The Boy work his new rocket toy (a felt rocket on the end of a pump that he eventually sends up to tree height), and to plot little adventures.

As I passively parent him on the grass, I see commuters breathed in and out by the commuter ferries that stop right in front of our building. The "Squeaky Dock," as we call it for obvious reasons, has been a fixture since we moved down here, despite being basically a floating canvas tent. We spend quite a bit of time there since it has ramps to run up and down and sits out on the water, closer to the big ships and the speed boats. We've never taken a boat from there, though, and the thought strikes me that today should be the day.

It turns out to be easy to do. When Q wakes from her nap, she, The Boy, Grandma (wearing her "Big Honking Shoes"), and I head to the Squeaky Dock for tickets and for the 4:08 ferry to Hoboken. The Boy fidgets with glorious expectation. Our boat docks, and they motor down the ramp for us to board. It's still too early for rush hour, and only a few others join us for the trip. We head up the stairs for a better view of our building and our city.

The river looks even larger when you're out on it, more like a large lake or a small sea. Looking back out towards the harbor, over the left (book) shoulder of the Statue of Liberty, we can see the Verrazano Bridge, beyond which is nothing but Atlantic Ocean. Our park and our building, so familiar that we think of them as ours, look so new from the water — more green, more everything — that the kids need to be re-introduced to them. Q says, "Hello, park."

The ride is short, about ten minutes, but captivating nonetheless. We exit into the New Jersey Transit train station, and it's busy. The trains wait with all doors out, and all sorts of commuters have started to make their way home. We head against the flow through the station outside to the walk along the Hudson on the Jersey side. Right before a large rectangle of grass begins running out towards the river, we're surprised to find kids soaking themselves in a powerful fountain. The Boy asks straight away if he can take off his shirt, which is a good idea since we came without towels or extra clothes (or anything at all actually). I pull Q's shirt off, too, and they work themselves into the erupting water. (Now and then The Boy "helps" Q by giving her a little push, as you can see in the blog header.) By the time we leave, there's not a dry spot on either of them.

Dinner time looms, so Grandma and I eventually manage to coax them over to the dry benches. I have to wring out their clothes. On the way back through the train station, Grandma does what Grandmas do and buys them candy. As we bounce on the small waves over to our Squeaky Dock, Q and The Boy can barely eat their Twizzlers because they can't stop smiling. Today has always been there across the water; I'm glad we finally went to claim it.

And now we get to hear Q say "Hoboken" whenever we want.

(Note: I still plan on doing the job series soon, but I wanted to get a little post in about Grandma's nice visit. Tune in again soon.)

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