I recently returned from a trip to Long Island, New York where I visited my cousins and aunt and uncle. I drove down with my sister and nephews. We stayed there for a week.
It was my first time visiting their place in 13 years. The last time being in 1998 for my eldest cousin's wedding. I had gone to New York City a couple of times (in 2005 and 2008), but never made it out to Long Island.
The drive down was long. But, as tiresome as it was for my sister and I, it was much worse for my nephews. Especially the youngest, Aaron (8). His first of many "Are we there yet?" moments happened shortly after we crossed the border into Buffalo from Niagara Falls. We were barely 1/4 the way into our trip and it continued on a regular basis from there.
We didn't do too much on our first full day in Long Island. We had dim sum with our extended family (aunt, uncle, cousins and their spouses and kids). After that the girls went shopping with the kids and I went to Queens to shop in the Chinese stores for groceries with my aunt and uncle. They bought all sorts of things for dinner which they wanted to have at their house, but didn't happen. Instead my cousin Donna (the youngest of the three girls) vetoed their intended gathering and I had dinner at her house with my sister and nephews and Donna and her family.
After dinner I spent some "quality time" with the kids. I did a few jigsaw puzzles with my cousin's youngest son, Victor. He seemed to be really into them. After I helped him with one 100-piece jungle-themed puzzle he brought out two Sponge Bob Square Pants ones for me to help him with. After finishing those I had had enough and my cousin drove me back to her parents place where I set up camp.
No, there wasn't any room at the inn for me. My cousin Donna's house was full. Besides her and her husband, Pete, and their two children Guilio and Victor, my sister and both nephews were there. So I stayed in Donna and Anna's former room at my aunt and uncle's house. It's just over 5 minutes drive from their place.
Being located in the burbs I thought I'd get a great night sleep there. As I'm sure you know I have a condo in the middle of a fairly busy part of the city. You here noise from the streets into the wee hours of the morning. When I went to my aunt and uncle's home I thought it would be quiet and peaceful.
True, there wasn't any street noise... but, the crickets made such a racket. I think it way worse than the drunken yahoos that hang out at the bus stop at 2:00 in the morning after a night at the bars. At least they're gone by 3:00. The crickets don't stop their incessant chirping until much later.
The next day was rather uneventful. I helped clean my aunt and uncle's house. My aunt still works and my uncle has been slowed down by a bum knee. And, like me, they're pack rats. Needless to say, the place needed a good sweeping and vacuuming. I also took their many, many floor mats out and beat the with a broom stick on the driveway to get the dirt out.
In the afternoon my sister and I went to Walt Whitman Mall to do some shopping. I was interested in getting some running shoes. I found a moderately priced pair of New Balance shoes that I liked. But, my sister convinced me to shop around a bit before buying, so that's what I did.
After we finished we went back to Donna and Pete's house for dinner again. I think this time we had tacos.