what was supposed to be an 8am departure time became an epic drive down to new york city that lasted until almost 6pm. first there was a delay to 9am, then dan and cymara had to get a present for john and deanna so they didn't actually pick me up until almost 10am. cymara was in the backseat with 16-month old clarissa, a picture of calm in her child seat watching a dvd on a portable lcd monitor. the weather was perfect but the traffic on the turnpike was horrible. we stopped once for lunch (mcdonalds, anyone?) somewhere in the fine state of connecticut then continued on our way. since their hotel was in newark, once we got to new york it still took some time to get all the way down to new jersey. from there we went to brooklyn but it took a while because we kept on getting lost (even going as far as secaucus) but eventually we arrived.

this was my first time visiting john and deanna's new place in carroll gardens, a total upgrade from their old place back on monroe place: two floors, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room with a working fireplace, a kitchen with an island, in-unit washer/dryer, and a private backyard with a deck. there was 2-month old william (i kept on calling him "vincent") rocking in his cradle swing.

i went out with the daddies with babies in strollers to buy a barbecue grill. i was curious what people thought of us, three men and two babies strolling the sidewalks of brooklyn. it felt a little weird. dan and john getting married was one thing, but now with kids? without realizing it, i've become that one single friend of people who are married with children. while their lives are all about their families, mine is all about...my fish? my garden? red sox? it's sort of depressing but i'm sure i'll get over it. the grass is always greener on the other side, so they say. another thing i noticed: since i was hanging out with stroller people, i thought maybe people with babies behave differently with one another, like maybe passing stroller pushers will wave to one another. however, surprisingly, this was not the case. just because two strangers have babies don't necessarily make them automatic friends, and in fact, more often than not (from my observation), breeders will ignore one another.

we had burgers for dinner, cooked out in the backyard on the freshly-assembled weber grill. the neighbor's kids were playing pirates (we could hear them) and then later they were watering their plants, the automatic sprinkler splashing water on us from overhead. around 9pm dan and family decided to head back out to the hotel. i let dan borrow my NFT maps in case they got lost. after they left, john and i went out for a walk around his neighborhood and to get some italian ice.

though it wasn't necessary, it seemed john still wanted to show me a good time so we drove into battery park in lower manhattan. from the shoreline where people take the ferry to see the statue of liberty, asian men were fishing in the dark. one of them pulled up something monstrous that looked like a fish covered with tumors. with that we quickly returned to brooklyn. after a quick shower i went to sleep in the living room on the aero bed.